And it may save your life." Shannon Estes awoke early last July 25 to three missed calls — a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. No one ever called the 45-year-old mother of five that late.She got up and made coffee before listening to the messages.If the buyer has a clean record, he or she can proceed with the purchase. The database will also flag anyone convicted of a domestic-violence misdemeanor crime (such as assault) or who has an active protective order against them.If he shows up in the system as a prohibitor — meaning he has a felony conviction or court-adjudicated mental illness, uses drugs, or is in the U. In a private sale — at a gun show, online, or between friends — none of these checks are required.Federal law does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of a large category of abusive dating partners and convicted stalkers.And even when they are prohibited from possessing guns, abusers and stalkers can evade the law by purchasing guns from unlicensed private sellers without undergoing a background check.Online sites have become the easiest way for criminals to evade the background check required at all federally licensed gun shops.Under the 1994 Brady Bill, anyone who wants to buy a gun at a retail store has to fill out a form, which is run through an FBI database.
Igor Zubko, Shayley’s 26-year-old ex-boyfriend — whom she had filed a protective order against 10 days earlier — had used his key to enter the house they once shared.A stream of frightening text messages had begun the night Shayley had filed the protective order.Zubko had sent Shayley’s roommate a text saying, "She will be brutally murdered, from Russia with love." But Shayley had assured her mom that he was bluffing.And while violence within marriages has gone down, "boyfriends are becoming an increasingly large proportion of those who commit intimate-partner homicides," says Shannon Frattaroli, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research.Meanwhile, Frattaroli says, our poorly written laws make women — particularly single women — more vulnerable to gun violence than they need to be."Gun violence is a women’s issue," says Kiersten Stewart, the Washington-based policy director of the organization Futures Without Violence."The data tells us that guns take domestic violence from a black eye to a body bag."Igor Zubko bought the gun he used to kill Shayley through Backpage.com, a website similar to Craigslist. But Shayley is dead, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Zubko, who has indicated a desire to plead guilty and is awaiting trial.But in order to truly save lives, the conversation has to get intimate. But a lot of people my age have different views on guns, so it’s something that I’d be less likely to talk about openly."talked to some women who love guns, some who loathe them, and a lot in between."We need to start talking about gun safety in our relationships — now," says Rob Valente, vice president of policy for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. And every woman agreed that she would want to know if the man she was dating owned a firearm."I don’t want to look in a drawer for a towel and instead find a gun," says Crystal, 23, who lives in New York City and is dating a police officer.Hudson, a 21-year-old student from Orono, Minnesota, agrees.