THE BLOG
12/02/2013 08:59 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2014

Zimmerman: Guns Plus Domestic Violence a Dangerous Mix

The 911 recording of Samantha Scheibe crying out while George Zimmerman reportedly broke her furniture, pointed his Kel-Tek KSG shotgun at her, and shoved her out the door demonstrates the danger of allowing those with a history of domestic violence access to guns. Much of our work at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women is in understanding and preventing domestic violence fatalities by holding batterers accountable and keeping victims safe. The numbers show that the likelihood of murder in domestic violence incidents increases twelve fold when the batterer has access to a gun.

Since 2005, Zimmerman has been involved in at least three domestic violence incidents. In 2005, a judge granted his fiancé a restraining order against him. The second two incidents, which occurred after he shot Trayvon Martin to death, reportedly involved a gun.

Federal law recognizes this lethal combination of guns and abuse. Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law that prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from ever possessing a gun. The opinion recognized that domestic violence offenders are likely to reoffend, and that, "if they do so with a gun, the risk of death to a victim is significantly increased."

Whether the crime happens in California or Florida, a person convicted of domestic violence loses their gun for life. If Zimmerman is convicted domestic violence, he will finally lose his guns. And lives may be saved as a result.