Andrew Warren is pledging to combat domestic violence by prioritizing the enforcement of laws preventing domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
“Nobody who’s been convicted of domestic violence should own a firearm,” Warren said earlier this week. “We need to do a better job to protect victims. This is about saving lives.”
The Tampa Democrat is seeking to end the 16-year control of the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office by Mark Ober, who was elected to the position in 2000 and has never looked back. He’s issued a series of policy positions on what he would do in the state attorney’s office if he was to defeat Ober this fall.
Warren says that domestic violence homicides nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, and that the domestic violence crime rate went up in Hillsborough County while declining statewide. “The increase in domestic violence in our community is tragic and unacceptable,” Warren said. “This is about priorities. We need to do a better job allocating resources to target domestic violence. We cannot let these cases slip through the cracks anymore — we’ve seen the tragic consequences.”
Statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement back up his charge. There were nine domestic violence related murders in the county in 2014, and 17 in 2015. There was also 380 more domestic violence related offenses in Hillsborough in 2015.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gun ownership rights can be denied to people who commit reckless acts of domestic violence. The ruled ruled 6-2 to uphold the sentences imposed on two Maine men who had argued their misdemeanor convictions for domestic abuse should not trigger a federal gun control statute.
USA Today notes that the federal law was intended to deny guns to people convicted of violent acts against family members, based in part on research showing they are more likely to use guns domestically in the future.
The Ober campaign declined to respond to our request for comment.