Sen. Susan Collins has a huge opportunity to demonstrate bipartisan leadership in Congress. I urge her to do so by co-sponsoring S. 1539 – the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2017 (also known as “closing the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ ” to ensure that the ban on gun ownership by domestic abusers applies to people who’ve never lived together, been married or had a child together). Sen. Collins knows she has the people of Maine behind her on this bill, and now is the time to show real leadership on the issue of gun violence prevention.

The two most recent mass-casualties massacres, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sutherland Springs, Texas, have one thing in common: Both were committed by men with histories of domestic violence.

Headlines like these make the news. What doesn’t make the news is the research showing that at least 52 percent of the American women killed with guns are killed by intimate partners or family members. Women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be killed with guns than are women in other developed countries, and when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, the woman is five times more likely to be killed. These statistics are sobering.

Gun violence against women in America is inextricably linked to domestic violence, and we can and must do more to keep guns out of the hands of those intent on doing harm.

Congress’ silence and inaction on the growing problem of gun violence in our country are maddening, and Americans are tiring of it quickly. I urge all readers to take a moment and call Sen. Collins today, and ask her to do her part to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and sponsor the bill to close the “boyfriend loophole.”

Kathleen McFadden

volunteer lead, Maine Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Kittery