SALT LAKE CITY — A former congresswoman who left office after being shot in the head is teaming up with a Utah women's shelter to fight domestic violence.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is the co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. Giffords and the YWCA Utah recently called on Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation that protects women and families from gun violence.
Guns and domestic violence are a lethal mix in Utah. In the past 10 years, 53 percent of domestic violence homicides of women in Utah involved guns.
In the last five years, the Utah health department reports one in three adult homicides in Utah were a domestic violence case, and most of the victims were women.
About 67 percent of the domestic homicides involved firearms.
"A gun in a situation where there's physical violence only increases the lethality for everybody," said Asha Parekh of the YWCA Utah. "In many situations, children are present."
Parekh said the women's shelter practices safety planning to help clients prepare to stay safe if a risk arises. But she said they can only do so much. She believes the better solution is to keep guns away from abusers.
"Reducing access to guns by abusers or gun ownership by abusers would, we hope, result in fewer domestic violence-related deaths," she said.
This year, six states — Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin — enacted domestic gun violence legislation. All had bi-partisan support for the bills.