Interesting article in the Dallas Morning News today about efforts to prevent folks convicted of domestic violence or abuse from gun ownership. Under federal law, anyone found to have committed family violence (aka domestic abuse), whether in a criminal proceeding or by way of a civil protective order, is prohibited from purchasing a gun. The identity of the person should be reported to the National Crime Information Center, which is the registry used for gun sales. Unfortunately, the lower level courts in Dallas County have not been reporting convictions. By the end of October, even municipal courts will begin reporting the identities and fingerprints of all people who are found guilty or plead no contest to Class C misdemeanor family violence charges. Class C cases involve verbal threats or physical contact that did not result in visible injury. No one walks away with more than $500 ticket. About 2,200 such cases came through the Dallas courts in the last three to four years.

The new action was inspired by the shooting at Sutherland Springs last year. The gunman had been convicted in military court of domestic assault, but it was not sent to the database. If it had been the gunman would not have been permitted to buy the gun that he used in the shooting.

Dallas council members previously approved $45,000 to buy three Live Scan Fingerprinting systems needed to secure info for the database. While this may seem small in the grand scheme of the City of Dallas budget, smaller cities will have a harder time bearing such costs.

Read the news story here: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/10/15/dallas-keep-guns-domestic-abusers-hands

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The statistics about the common occurrence of domestic violence are astounding.

  • THREE women in the US are murdered every day by their current or former boyfriends.
  • 38 MILLION + people in the US have experienced physical violence by a partner at some point during their lifetime.
  • 4.7 MILLION women experience physcial violence by a partner every YEAR.
  • 20 people every MINUTE are victims of domestic violence.
  • 1 in 4 women will be a victim of severe domestic violence in their lifetime. 1 in 7 men will fall victim to severe domestic violence. 2 in 5 gay men will experience domestic violence.
  • 45% of women in violent relationships are also raped in those relationships.
  • Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten in the US.
  • 70% of women worldwide will experience physical and/or sexual abuse by an intimate partner during their lifetimes.
  • 98% of people who experience domestic violence also experience financial abuse.
  • Black women experience domestic violence at rates more than 35% higher than white women.
  • Only 25% of physical assaults are reported to the police.

Read more here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html

Download a domestic violence fact sheet here: https://www.speakcdn.com/assets/2497/domestic_violence2.pdf

Download the fact sheet about Domestic Violence in TExas here: https://www.speakcdn.com/assets/2497/texas.pdf

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.