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Like many women who suffer domestic abuse, Zina Daniel had endured years of escalating attacks by her husband and finally sought a restraining order.

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Women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. This data likely undercounts the phenomenon because in many other cases law enforcement could not confirm whether a shooter and victim were intimately involved.

Domestic violence in America is to a significant degree a problem of gun violence. And research by Everytown for Gun Safety establishes that this is also true for mass shootings: in 57 percent of the mass shootings between January 2009 and June 2014, the perpetrator killed an intimate partner or family member.

When these laws are on the books and enforced properly, they save lives. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011, available at Fe (excludes New York due to incomplete data); Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Supplementary Homicide Report, 2010.

In the past sixteen years, the background check system has kept hundreds of thousands of guns out of abusers’ hands and prevented countless crimes. But because of loopholes in these laws and failures to enforce them, they do too little to curb the uniquely lethal American problem of guns and violence against women.

In theory, these laws are designed to protect women in Zina’s circumstances, by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Koziol-Mc Lain, et al., Risk factors for femicide within physically abuse intimate relationships: results from a multi-state case control study, 93 Amer. More than half of women murdered with guns in the U. in 2011 — at least 53 percent — were killed by intimate partners or family members. According to FBI data there were 1,221 gun murders in which a woman was the lead victim.

But in practice, the laws are poorly defined and poorly enforced, and the results are as predictable as they are devastating. Of these, 649 were killed by an intimate partner or immediate family member — 53% of the total.

But gaps in the laws and difficulties with enforcement pose lethal threats to the victims of domestic and family violence who are most at risk. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Since the federal Gun Control Act was passed in 1968 following a series of high-profile political assassinations, it has been illegal for individuals convicted of a felony to buy or own firearms.

Loopholes in laws prohibiting gun possession by domestic violence offenders allow abusers and stalkers to legally buy and possess guns. But many dangerous abusers do not have felony convictions, and as of 1968 the law did not prohibit them from possessing guns.

“His threats terrorize my every waking moment,” she wrote in her petition.

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