“O guard my life, and deliver me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.” Ps. 25:20

There are many fixes to domestic violence against spouses and family members. As a pastor, couples came in to talk about their challenges. Working with local marriage and family therapists, I heard stories of couples struggling to work through issues. In the parish I saw couples treading water and floating on the surface of complacency, unwilling or afraid of stepping into the arena of truth. Yet, I never had to preside at the funeral of a domestic violence victim.

Domestic violence by gun exists. The analytics reveal the tragic truth. What can we learn about prevention? When it comes to guns, these truths demand attention.

1. Guns in the home in times of personal stress significantly raise the possibility of lethal fixes. It is tragically easy to rid oneself of a “problem” by pulling a trigger. The aftermath is similarly tragic and sad.

2. Pressure times may mean temporarily removing guns from your living space. One can choose to do this on one’s own initiative, or family members can petition the court to temporarily remove weapons if the state has “Red Flag Laws” in place. Talk with your local police department about possibilities for gun removal. Guns can be given to family and friends until the pressure is lifted. Consider removing the gun from your house and placing it in a storage shed to create distance and “cool down” time. These actions have saved lives.

3. If your state or local community does not have “Red Flag Laws”, work through your legislators, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), marriage counseling associations or concerned people to develop and pass RFLs. Be pro-active. Recognize that addressing the issue of domestic violence has both personal and political solutions.

4. Get out of the house, go to a shelter or place of safety.

5. As a threatened and fearful spouse, encourage counseling, talk with your pastor or seek legal action.

6. If your dating partner ever threatens you with a gun, end the relationship. When you are married the threats will get worse because the other will believe they can control you.

7. If your married spouse wants to purchase a weapon or you discover after marriage that the spouse owns a weapon, talk about it, express your concern, share the analytics within the previous blog, pray about your concern and take responsible action.

8. If you are ever threatened, tell your friends, counselor and parents.

We are our brothers and sisters keepers. Options for action exist.

Blessings and Peace.

Rev. Ron Letnes