An Iowa law signed into effect in 2010 with the goal of getting guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including domestic abusers, has seen a total of 84 convictions, averaging just over 18 each year, according to a recent review by the Associated Press.
Among those affected by the law, which was signed by then-Gov. Chet Culver and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, are individuals who are the subject of a permanent protective order or have been convicted of domestic violence-related misdemeanors.
In the more than five years that the law has been in effect, the number of domestic violence-related fatalities has decreased slightly. In the five years before the law was passed, the state saw on average of almost eight cases each year where one or more people were fatally shot during a domestic dispute. In the five years following the adoption of the law, that average has dropped to around five people.
And while experts agree that it is difficult to gauge just how much the enactment of the law has affected those averages, the preliminary data seem to indicate the law is, in fact, saving lives.
Lindsay Pingel, spokeswoman with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said victims of domestic violence feel a greater sense of security and safer knowing their abusers are barred from owning guns.