How many abused spouses will die in gun violence before Kentucky police agencies and judges start using GPS monitoring automatically for abusers who violate protective orders?

Amanda’s Law has been on the books since 2010 but has been used only twice in the last three years, according to research by a reporter from the Lexington Herald-Leader.

That law resulted from the murder of Amanda Ross, who was shot by her ex-boyfriend, former state representative Steve Nunn.

The case drew national attention and cast a much-needed spotlight on efforts to prevent domestic violence.

Monitoring systems sends alerts to the victim and to police when the abuser comes within a certain distance. However, some officials say more education is needed about the monitoring option and grants would be helpful in setting up systems.

Kentucky is among 23 states with laws authorizing GPS monitoring. However, no one has studied best practices for the benefit of all.

In addition, use of the monitoring option and the confiscation of guns from those who violate protective orders somehow are seen as unfair to the abusers.

As a result of such attitudes, Top of Form

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Amanda’s Law restricts GPS monitoring to those with “substantial” violations of a protective order, such as stalking, burglary or kidnapping.

Sadly, by the time judges are considering jail time for such a violator, the victim could be dead.

We commend lawmakers for substantial, recent progress in dealing with domestic violence, such as expanding legal protections to dating partners.

However, removing guns could significantly reduce the number of deaths. Counties now have the option of requiring the surrender of firearms when issuing emergency protective orders.

We believe it should become standard practice, reinforced by state law and oversight.

The American Journal of Public Health reports that guns are used in intimate-partner deaths in three-fourths of the cases.

Moreover, the presence of a firearm in domestic violence situations increases the homicide risk to women by 500 percent, according to the journal.

Currently, 17 of the 27 states with mandatory gun surrender laws show a 10 percent lower rate of intimate-partner homicides.

Kentucky should be in that group.

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