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Louisiana legislation moves to curb domestic violence

The state of Louisiana has turned around its notoriety in being the state with extremely high fatalities resulting from domestic violence. Three pieces of legislation have been sponsored by Rep. Helena Moreno, the state's Democratic representative, who publicly decried the somber statistics of Louisiana's high incidence of murdered spouses due to gunshot attacks.

The new bills have been applauded, but must now move past initial approval through other channels in order to pass the Senate. The legislative package already received preliminary approval from the state House of Representatives, but now faces the lower chamber due to possible Senate amendments to the bills.

One potential obstacle was the bill disallowing those individuals under protective orders from possessing a firearm for a decade. Louisiana history has been traditionally reluctant to enact strong legislation on gun control. But J. P. Morrell, Democratic State Senator of New Orleans, has supported the National Rifle Association's position of neutrality on the issue, an organization noted for dissuading lobbyists to garner support for the motion.

Another landmark bill addresses second offenders of domestic abuse and classifies acts of violence as crimes. The legislation would provide for the abuser to be labeled a felon and suffer double the jail time. The final bill would expedite filing of documentation for protective orders and speed up the arrest of suspected domestic violence abusers.

The passage of these bills in Louisiana indicates the strength of the state's commitment to end the vicious cycle of domestic violence as these proposals address many aspects of the crimes and abusers. If a victim of domestic violence wishes to inform him or herself of the laws designed to protect someone subjected to danger or even death in the home, there is efficient assistance available to empower these individuals to keep themselves and their families safe with the parameters of legal guidelines.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Harsher domestic violence penalties move one step closer to becoming law" Julia O'Donoghue, May. 06, 2014

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