Gun Reform

My Mom Was Killed By A Man With A Gun And It Didn’t Have To Happen

By Angie Bartelt

Raw emotion can be hard to humanize when seeing it on the faces of our leadership, especially during such a partisan time in America.

Time and time again we watch as these men and women deliver news to their people that something terrible has happened with straight faces.

Terrorism, outbreaks of deadly viruses, and mass shootings are reported in the world everyday and we watch with exhaustion- and often frustrations, as world leaders respond.

It is especially disconcerting when we do see our commander-in-chief, brought to tears on national television while professing the need for common sense gun regulation. President Obama spoke of the deaths of those worshipping in Charleston, the college students in Santa Barbara, and the first graders in Newtown.

As a fellow human being, I can clearly understand why the thought of twenty children being murdered under my watch and my administration could have, at least once, brought me to tears.

When we witness death from firearms everyday, it is hard to look at the problem and not want to hunt out a solution.

In 2001, my mother was murdered with a gun by her ex-husband on the front steps of our apartment.

She had been stalked and assaulted multiple times throughout the year prior. He would beat her to a pulp in front of myself, my brother, and our younger cousins. He broke in through our back door and held a knife to her throat, again in front of us children.

Even after exhausting the use of a restraining order and witness protection, she still wasn’t safe.

There was no hesitation when it came to her decision to alert the proper authorities when her life had been threatened, but the laws relating to domestic violence in 2001 failed her and my family.

According to a statistical report by the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence in 2012, abused victims are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.

According to a statistical report by the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence in 2012, abused victims are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.

I remember being a small child and seeing my stepfather’s home a few years before the murder.

He had many guns of all sizes, and it never crossed my adolescent brain to question why someone who, by that point, I knew was a gang member could have so many weapons at his disposal.

It was never a question to him, when he owned that many firearms and even a silencer, how he could most easily take my mother’s life.

In 2001, my mother’s murder was cut and dry. An ex-member of the Hells Angels who had access to illegal guns could surely hunt down a single mother in her last semester of college.

But in 2016, I hope that this can be prevented.

The data shows that prohibiting the purchases of a firearm by a person subject to a domestic violence restraining order is associated with a reduction in the number of intimate partner homicides.

In 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB-1014, a bill to allow concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO).

The GVRO will temporarily prohibit the individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession.

With this as an example of common sense law, the lives of endangered Americans can be spared.

The statistics go on in regards to the all too-often problem of victims who are being threatened or violated by a partner, more often than not when a firearm is present.

Again, abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if their abuser owns a firearm.

Some more facts from the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence:

“A recent survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one-third (36.7%) reported having been threatened or harmed with a firearm.

“In nearly two-thirds (64.5%) of the households that contained a firearm, the intimate partner had used the firearm against the victim, usually threatening to shoot or kill the victim.”

Shockingly, women who suffer from domestic violence are eight times more likely to be killed if there is a firearm in the home.

These women, like my mother, flee to protect themselves and their children, but that is not always the final solution.

Guns create a problem bigger than the need for self-defense. Whether or not the gun in the home is meant for protection, the truth is that instead of being used as a safety tool, guns are being used by abusers to harm or kill women more than they have saved them.

As a direct victim of the worst scenario of domestic violence, I urge you to fight for the lives of our families, friends, and fellow mankind.

As a direct victim of the worst scenario of domestic violence, I urge you to fight for the lives of our families, friends, and fellow mankind.

The most common weapon men use to kill women is a gun.

This is a fact. This is not a random quote that crossed the internet. It is something you won’t hear out of the mouths of any of the Republican presidential candidates, but this ruins, and often ends, lives.

This is not just my story. This is millions of families in our country, not just the ones we see on the news. This epidemic of gun violence used against women is a fight bigger than women rights.

This is about human rights and human lives.

The president’s tears should not be on the forefront of the debate as to why common sense gun regulation is necessary in 2016 America.

Instead, we need to be talking about the ways in which these kinds of regulations, from improving tracing of lost or stolen firearms to proper background checks, can work in a bipartisan legislation to make our country safer and protect our women and children.

As a person whose entire perspective on life was shattered by gun violence as a child, I urge anyone who sees common sense gun control as negative to reconsider.

Take a moment and think about what your life would have been like if a criminal with a gun took your mother’s life.

I urge you to think about the children in our country going through that at this very moment.


Angie Bartelt (bottom right) with her mother. Photo Credit: Angie Bartelt

According to the Brady Campaign, every day 31 people in this country are murdered with a gun.

That means that since my mother’s murder, 169,725 people have been murdered, with women being five times more likely the victim of this heinous crime.

I beg of anyone to reconsider their views on gun regulation for our mothers.

How many more people have to lose their mother like I did?

How many more people have to lose their sister, father, daughter, son, cousin, uncle, aunt, or friend?

How long will it be before it won’t be weird for me to say I lost my mother to gun violence because it has become normal? I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.

I hope you feel the same.

Cover Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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