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Domestic Abuse Bill Dies in House, Supporters Still Hopeful on Other Version

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - A domestic abuse bill has been axed in the House and now local groups and abuse survivors are speaking out in support, hoping another version will pass the Senate.

The bill would have stopped anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violent crime from owning a firearm for five years.

Lisette Johnson, a survivor of domestic abuse, says bills like this could help prevent what happened to her.

"Any gun ownership, in my opinion, after a conviction, is putting someone's life on the line," she says.

In 2009, Johnson's abusive husband of 21 years tried to kill her.

"It did end with me being shot several times in our home with my children present at the time. And my husband did take his life afterwards."

Now Johnson speaks out in support of domestic violence legislature like House Bill 48 that was killed this week.

"Stalking and domestic violence and sexual assault are a pattern of behavior," she says. "And it's not a one-off. So it doesn't simply go away with a conviction."

Lori Haas from the coalition to stop gun violence says she's shocked it didn't pass.

"Evidence shows that persons convicted of certain violent, domestic violence misdemeanors and certain stalking crimes are at a greater risk and elevated risk of committing gun violence against women," she says.

But there's another version in the Senate and Haas says she's confident they'll have a second chance.

"We will have another opportunity to convince house members that this is a good bill and a public safety bill made to protect women and family members."

"It's one thing to lose your father. It's another thing to lose your father to suicide," Johnson says. "And another thing to lose your father who shot your mother and tried to kill her too and then I almost died...."

That Senate bill is expected to reach a vote on Friday.


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