Contact Peaceful Paths at
352-377-5690 for more information.
FEBRUARY 7, 2023
Recent Appeals Court Decision Puts Victims of Domestic Violence at Higher Risk
Allowing perpetrators to have access to guns while an injunction is in place increases danger of homicide.
GAINESVILLE - The recent ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in United States v. Rahimi struck down 30 years of federal law prohibiting those under a protective order for domestic violence from possessing firearms. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel ruled a domestic violence abuser subject to a protective order has a constitutional right to possess a firearm. Research and decades of advocate, judicial and law enforcement experience tell us the following things:
Domestic violence and firearms are a lethal combination.
When a male abuser has access to a firearm, the risk that he will shoot and kill a female partner increases by 1,000%.
Prior to this decision, federal law prohibited convicted abusers and those who are under protective orders of domestic violence from possessing firearms.
While the 5th Circuit left in place the federal ban on firearms for convicted abusers, it ultimately ruled the prohibition on possession of a firearm in civil restraining order cases was unconstitutional.
In summary, the court struck the federal law that prohibits guns from abusers under domestic violence protective orders.
Some survivors may not wish to or be able to seek a conviction, but an order of protection can be another tool for increasing survivor safety.
This decision reveals an utter disregard for domestic violence survivors’ safety.
Executive Director Dr. Theresa Beachy stated, “Peaceful Paths leads the Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence in our tri county region. Victim safety is the focus for all our collective efforts, and this ruling is truly a shock. Our High Risk Team and Lethality Assessment Protocol with local law enforcement are designed to predict and prevent domestic violence homicides. This ruling makes this work that much more difficult by allowing volatile individuals access to firearms despite the fact that they have demonstrated to a judge that their actions could lead to injury or death of the victim. Undermining the judicial authority to protect victims with an injunction by reintroducing weapons to the mix reduces the effectiveness of one of the few system safeguards victims can access.”
For more information on the agency or how you can be an ally in our work, please contact Dr. Theresa Beachy at
352-377-5690 or visit us on the web at www.peacefulpaths.org
We exist to save lives and create change.
JULY 15, 2022
In light of the tragic homicide related to domestic violence this past weekend, Peaceful Paths remains committed to survivors of domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV).
If you or someone you know is in danger or would like to talk to an advocate, contact us:
24-Hour Helpline at 352-377-8255 Text 24-hours a day to 352-727-0948
The incident on July 9th marks the sixth domestic violence related homicide to affect Alachua County in the past two years. Life stressors in addition to the pandemic have also contributed to an increase in domestic violence and have been highlighted nationally as a growing concern for many domestic violence service programs. Recent research states, “The pandemic, like other kinds of disasters, exacerbates the social and livelihood stresses and circumstances that we know lead to intimate partner violence," researcher Clare Cannon found (Asst. Professor of Social & Environmental Justice, UC Davis). While these life circumstances do not cause domestic violence, they can certainly lead to increased physical danger and fatalities.
Statistics from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence report that 37% of Florida women and 29% of Florida men experience IPV violence their lifetimes. Last year Peaceful Paths provided over 33,000 nights of safe housing in our emergency shelter, assisted 643 clients with legal needs and legal referrals, and answered close to 4,500 helpline calls. Executive Director of Peaceful Paths, Dr. Theresa Beachy states, “Peaceful Paths remains vigilant in our mission to Save Lives and Create Change. We will continue to serve our community members and advocate at all levels for increased prevention and education surrounding DV and IPV, increased services for survivors, and legislative change that holds batterers accountable and increases safety for victims and their families."
Peaceful Paths serves victims and survivors in Alachua, Bradford and Union Counties. Services include a 24 Hour Helpline, emergency shelter, support group and crisis counseling, injunction support and legal referrals, economic empowerment and financial literacy, and housing support.
All services are confidential and provided free of charge. In addition to providing direct services for victims and survivors, Peaceful Paths provides community education and violence prevention programming to community members of all ages. Please visit our website at www.peacefulpaths.org.