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Domestic violence convention advocates say too many “loopholes” getting a gun

SALT LAKE CITY – The murder of a woman at the University of Utah is weighing heavy on the minds of people attending a yearly convention about domestic violence prevention.

Some are asking what more could have been done to protect her.

Utah Domestic Violence Coalition Executive Director Jen Oxborrow asks, “What can we do with our policies?  This was someone who was a known offender.  How did he have access to a gun?  How did he have access to her?  She had planned for her safety and her protection.”

Oxborrow says the answer to these questions are not as simple as people would hope, and that several different things need to happen to protect someone who is in a violent relationship.

“What does work is working with a trained victim advocate and somebody who understand the complexity of domestic violence,” she says.

However, she says victims of abuse shouldn’t just depend on one thing to keep them safe.  For instance, she says women who carry firearms to protect themselves from a potentially deadly abuser are far more likely to be killed by a gun than women who don’t carry.

Oxborrow says victims also need to reach out to legal experts who can guide them through the process of filing protective orders.

She believes Utah’s domestic violence laws have come a long way in recent years, but there are still too many ways a restricted person can get a weapon.

Currently, anyone convicted of domestic violence is restricted from owning one.

“Also, if you’re the subject of a protective order where domestic violence is indicated, you are a restricted person,” Oxborrow said. “But, we have problem with our background checks, here.  So, there are still too many loopholes.”