Should domestic violence victims have easier access to guns?

Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 19:38:52-05

Could a gun help a victim in a domestic violence situation?

The law could change and make it easier for victims to pack heat.

Supporters think it would protect more victims. Opponents like Jimmie Alexander think it's too dangerous.

Alexander’s daughter, DaShanika Sherrod, was shot to death in early January. Her mother and two kids were just feet away.

The Medical Examiner said she was shot in the head. Newport News Police say her ex-boyfriend kicked down her door and killed her.

Days before she died, she got a protective order.  It expired before she was killed. But Alexander said he doesn’t think providing victims with more access to guns is the best way to handle domestic violence situations.

“It could've protected her but maybe it couldn't.  As far as anybody having a gun, I just see it is senseless because they hurt people,” said Alexander.

He has a real problem with bullets being so available and so cheap.

“I know the world to be a lot safer without the guns and without the bullets,” said Alexander.

Right now, there are two bills exploring the idea of making it easier for domestic violence victims to get guns.

One bill passed the House and the other passed the Senate.

The House Bill 766 passed 68-Yes to 29-No.

The Senate Bill passed 32-Yes to 8-No.

The bills would allow a domestic violence victims to carry a concealed handgun while waiting for the actual permit to be approved.

They would be allowed to have the handgun without a permit for up to 45 days. The victims would have to legally be allowed to own a gun.

Supporters believe this would help protect victims of domestic violence if they were put in a dangerous situation.

But opponents, like the group Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, say adding a gun to the mix has too many risks.

Legal analyst Todd Stone sees the concern but understands the purpose of the bill.

“The purpose of this bill is to give a weapon to somebody who needs it in a volatile situation,” said Stone, “But it’s also putting the weapon in the hands of somebody who may not have any training to use a weapon and in a volatile situation that could be really dangerous.”

NewsChannel 3 will follow these bills as they make their way through the General Assembly.

As for Smith, he was on the run for several days but was eventually captured.

Right now he remains in the Newport News Jail facing murder charges.

His next hearing is March 11th.