A Census of Intimate Partner Gun Homicides in Nevada

Everytown for Gun Safety and the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence

In many states, gaps in the law and failures of enforcement give domestic abusers easy access to guns. Nevada’s laws contain such loopholes, and they represent a lethal threat to victims of domestic and family violence in the state.

Executive Summary

In the early hours of July 9, 2012, Korinda Rodriguez and her husband, Jeffrey, prepared to leave their home in Reno to go to work at a local newspaper, where they were both employed. As they got ready, the couple began to argue. They had fought in the past but on this particular morning, Korinda threatened to leave Jeffrey. In separate cars, Jeffrey followed Korinda as she drove to work. When she tried to speed away from him, he became enraged and, on the median of U.S. 395, he used his vehicle to run her off the road.

As she stood beside her car, threatening to call the police, Jeffrey drew his gun.

By the time the police arrived at the scene, it was too late. Jeffrey had shot Korinda twice, killing her, before opening fire at passing vehicles. While there was nothing anyone could do to save Korinda’s life at that point, her murder was not inevitable and represented, among other things, the failure of state gun laws to protect her.

From the standpoint of the law, Jeffrey should not have been able to purchase the firearm he used to kill Korinda. He had been convicted of numerous felonies including sexually motivated coercion of a minor, burglary, and attempted theft, any of which prohibited him from purchasing and possessing firearms under federal and Nevada law. If Jeffrey had tried to purchase the gun from a licensed firearm dealer, federal law would have required him to pass a background check before he could buy the firearm. Jeffrey would have failed, and the sale would have been stopped.

But Nevada law leaves a gaping loophole for dangerous people like Jeffrey to get armed: unlicensed gun sellers are exempt from the requirement to conduct background checks. As a result, Jeffrey was able to purchase two handguns from his neighbors, who could sell them to him without having to conduct a background check. In fact, Jeffrey later told police he sought out his neighbors deliberately because Jeffrey knew he was not allowed to have guns, and he also knew he could buy guns from them with no questions asked.

Preventing abusers from accessing firearms saves women’s lives, and the circumstances of Korinda’s death — shot to death by an intimate partner — are not uncommon in Nevada. To better assess how these crimes occur, Everytown partnered with the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence to compile a comprehensive database of intimate gun homicides in the state over a five-year period (2010 through 2014). This research — the most in-depth of its kind for the state — gives policymakers the measure of these recurrent crimes:

  • Women in Nevada are 65 percent more likely to be shot to death by intimate partners than women nationwide, according to an Everytown analysis of FBI data. In fact, Nevada has the fifth highest rate of domestic violence gun murder of any state in the country.Everytown for Gun Safety, “State background check requirements and rates of domestic violence homicide,” available at http://every.tw/1fmRnLI.
  • Everytown identified 46 domestic violence gun homicides in Nevada over the five-year period. During the shootings the perpetrators also shot 10 additional victims — friends, family members, and children — killing six of them, two of whom were children.
  • In addition to those who were killed or injured, at least 20 children witnessed or were present for the shootings. In fact, at least 39 percent of the murders took place in the presence of other individuals, demonstrating the devastating impact these homicides had on the children, families, and community members present during the shootings.
  • There were ample indications that the perpetrators posed a risk to their partners. More than one in four shooters had a criminal record that prohibited them from possessing firearms — the majority due to a prior domestic violence crime.
  • Of seven homicides committed by people barred from possessing firearms where the source of the gun could be determined, two obtained them in an unlicensed transfer.
  • After murdering their intimate partners, nearly two-thirds of the offenders killed themselves, all but one with a firearm.

These murders and the data drawn from them shine a light on fatal domestic violence in Nevada—and illuminate solutions that may prevent future abusers from obtaining firearms and causing further deaths. The incidents documented in this report vividly illustrate that Nevada needs an improved approach to addressing the threat gun violence poses for victims of domestic violence.

Background: Weak Gun Laws and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence—a pattern of intimidation and manipulation that manifests in many different forms of abuse, such as physical, emotional, psychological, and sexualNational Network to End Domestic Violence, “Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence,” available at http://bit.ly/1mdcSBI. — affects the lives of women across the United States.While domestic violence does not discriminate based on gender, American women are at a statistically higher risk of experiencing severe physical domestic violence than American men; approximately one in four women (22.3 percent) have been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner as compared to one in seven men (14.0 percent); see Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Basile KC, Walters ML, Chen J, Merrick MT. Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. MMWR 2014; 63(SS-8): 1-18. More than a million women in the United States are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year, and more than one in three women in the United States will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime.“Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control (March 2003), available at: http://1.usa.gov/1zgqF0l.

In the United States, domestic violence is deeply intertwined with gun violence. Over the past 25 years in the United States, more intimate partner homicides have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined.Professor April M. Zeoli, Letter to the Hon. Patrick J. Leahy and Charles Grassley, Jan. 28, 2013. This is, in part, because the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases fivefold the risk of homicide for the victim.J.C. Campbell, S.W. Webster, J.Koziol-McLain, et al., “Risk factors for femicide within physically abuse intimate relationships: results from a multi-state case control study,” 93 Amer. J. of Public Health 1089-97 (2003). Abusers also often use guns as a means of intimidation and control: two-thirds of women who had been abused and who lived in a household with a firearm reported that their partner had used it against them, most often by threatening to shoot or kill them.Susan B. Sorenson and Douglas J. Wiebe, “Weapons in the Lives of Battered Women,” 94 Am. J. Pub. Health 1412-1413 (2004).

The connection between domestic violence and gun violence is readily apparent in Nevada. An Everytown analysis of FBI data found that 49 percent of women killed by intimate partners in the state were shot to death.Everytown analysis of FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2008-2012, available at: http://bit.ly/1yVxm4K. And Nevadan women are 65 percent more likely to be shot to death by their intimate partners than women nationwide: there were 6.6 domestic violence gun homicides per million female Nevadans compared to 4.0 nationwide, the fifth highest rate of any state.Everytown for Gun Safety, “State background check requirements and rates of domestic violence homicide,” available at http://every.tw/1fmRnLI.

Victims are often asked why they do not leave violent relationships. Separation from an abusive partner may jeopardize their financial stability or custody over their children; furthermore, leaving is the most dangerous time for victims. Of the victims in this study, 31 percent had already left their abusers at the time they were killed.

Due to the elevated risk posed by abusers who obtain firearms, state and federal lawmakers have responded with measures intended to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. States with the strongest laws require criminal background checks for all gun sales, bar domestic abusers and stalkers from purchasing and possessing firearms, and have implemented processes to ensure that abusers turn in the guns already in their possession when they become prohibited.

Properly enforced, these laws make women safer. In states that require background checks for all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.Id. And research shows that state laws restricting firearm access to people under domestic violence restraining orders experience 25 percent fewer domestic violence gun murders.April Zeoli and Daniel Webster, “Effects of domestic violence policies, alcohol taxes and police staffing levels on intimate partner homicide in large US cities,” Journal of Injury Prevention, 2010, available at http://1.usa.gov/1IqT58h.

But in many states, gaps in the law and failures of enforcement give domestic abusers easy access to guns. Nevada’s laws contain such loopholes, and they represent a lethal threat to victims of domestic and family violence in the state.

Nevada law does not require background checks for all gun sales. Federal and state law prohibit convicted domestic abusers and people subject to qualifying domestic violence protection orders from buying guns18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8),(9); NRS § 202.360(1)(d). (in Nevada, qualifying protection orders, called “domestic violence extended protection orders,” are those issued after notice and a hearing).Nevada courts issue two types of protection orders: temporary orders, which last for up to 30 days and can be granted without notice to the adverse party, and extended orders, which must be preceded by a hearing at which both parties can participate and, once issued, can last for up to one year. Licensed gun dealers are required to conduct background checks and the public safety benefits of this measure are plain: In just the last three years, background checks conducted by Nevada dealers blocked 5,379 gun sales to prohibited people including 959 to people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or subject to domestic violence protection orders.Everytown for Gun Safety, “State background check requirements and rates of domestic violence homicide,” available at http://every.tw/1fmRnLI. But unlicensed gun sales are exempt from the background check requirement, greatly undermining the effectiveness of these prohibitions. Abusers who are prohibited from possessing firearms are still able to easily obtain them in unlicensed sales — notably at gun shows or online — with no background check required.

Nevada law does not ensure that domestic abusers who become prohibited from having guns turn in any guns they already own. Last year, Nevada enacted laws prohibiting gun possession by convicted abusers2015 NV SB 175. and abusers under most extended protection orders.Two pieces of legislation were enacted in 2015 concerning firearm possession by abusers under extended protection orders. SB 175 added a prohibition against possession of guns by convicted abusers, and barring subsequent purchase or acquisition of guns by anyone under an extended protection order. SB 240 added a prohibition against possession of guns by anyone prohibited under federal law. This includes abusers under extended protection orders in Nevada, if the victim was a current or former spouse, co-parent, or cohabitant, but not if the victim was a dating partner. But when abusers becomes prohibited from possessing guns because they are convicted of domestic violence crimes, there is no law requiring them to turn in the guns they already own. And in the case of abusers who become subject to domestic violence extended protection orders, although the court may require them to turn in any guns already in their possession, that important safeguard is not automatic. Even when an abuser under an extended protection order is required to turn in his or her firearms, there is no clear enforcement process to ensure the abuser relinquishes them. These gaps in the law mean that many dangerous offenders keep their guns.

A Census of Intimate Partner Gun Homicides in Nevada

Methodology

To examine the circumstances of domestic violence gun homicides in Nevada — and to identify opportunities for prevention — Everytown attempted to identify every intimate partner gun homicide in the state between 2010 and 2014. Incidents were drawn from a list of shootings provided by the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, incidents listed in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, police and court documents, and media reports. Everytown only included incidents in which an individual killed a current or former intimate partner (spouse or dating partner) and firearm injuries were determined to be the primary cause of death.Among the cases excluded were those in which the perpetrator shot but did not kill their intimate partner (although others may have been killed in the incident); the identity of the shooter could not be determined based on a search of all available information; the victim was shot but the gunshot wound was not the cause of death; the perpetrator shot the victim with a black powder rifle, which is not subject to the same background check requirements ; the perpetrator hired a third-party to kill the intimate partner; and there was not definitive evidence that the perpetrator and the victim were current or former intimate partners.

For each included incident, Everytown reviewed publicly available media reports, subscription-based news databases, and police and court records to develop further information on the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, the prior criminal history of the perpetrator, and the source of the firearm, where known. In several cases, Everytown spoke with family members of the victims to obtain further details.

This census likely undercounts the true number of intimate partner gun homicides in the state.“In a comparison of the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) with the study database, the SHR identified only 71.1 percent of the partner victims and could at best identify only 26.7 percent of the victims other than partners. Intimate homicides involving multiple victims were underreported in the SHR. Cases involving ex-boyfriend perpetrators were reported as partner homicides less often in the SHR than other intimate relationships”; see L. Langford, N. Isaac, and S. Kabat, “Homicides Related to Intimate Partner Violence In Massachusetts: Examining Case Ascertainment and Validity of the SHR”, 2 Homicide Studies, 353-377 (1998). The FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports rely on police departments to voluntarily submit their homicide data on an annual basis and based on a comparison with firearm homicide data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System Fatal Injury Reports during the same time period, the total number of homicides is likely underreported.A comparison of the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) and the CDC National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) in 2008-2012 shows that the SHR reported 98% of female firearm homicides included in the NVSS. Additionally, the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports do not have a category for identifying homicides between former dating partners, meaning those homicides cannot be included in the total of intimate partner homicides.Janice Roehl, Ph.D., Chris O’Sullivan, Ph.D., Daniel Webster, ScD, and Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph. D, “Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Validation Study,” Doc. No. 209731 (2005).

Nevertheless, this census represents the most comprehensive analysis of intimate partner gun homicide data in Nevada to date, and provides policymakers with important information on the frequency, nature, and impact of intimate partner gun violence in their state.

In isolation, these are tragedies, but taken together as a group, patterns emerge — as do opportunities for prevention.

Patterns and Trends

Who Was Killed or Injured

The vast majority of victims — 83 percent — were women, and their median age was 37 years. Frequently, they did not die alone: nearly 40 percent were shot in front of other people, and in nearly 1 in 5 homicides (17 percent), the perpetrator shot at least one additional victim not including him or herself. This accounted for six additional deaths and four non-fatal injuries.In one additional incident, the perpetrator fatally stabbed his 3-year-old daughter.

The Toll on Children

The shootings had an enormous impact on children, whether or not they were physically injured. Nearly half of the perpetrators killed a partner with whom they had a child (46 percent); in 67 percent of those cases, the shooter subsequently killed him or herself, leaving their children parentless. Three children were shot during these domestic violence gun homicides, of whom two died. Another child was killed when she was stabbed during the incident. At least 20 other children witnessed or were present for the shootings. Some discovered the body of a parent or relative, others witnessed them die, and one attempted CPR on his dying mother.

Childhood exposure to domestic violence has been linked with problems including depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorderDube, Shanta R., Robert F. Anda, Vincent J. Felitti, Valerie J. Edwards, and David F. Williamson. 2002. “Exposure to Abuse, Neglect, and Household Dysfunction among Adults Who Witnessed Intimate Partner Violence as Children: Implications for Health and Social Services.” Violence and Victims 17 (1): 3–17. Edleson, Jeffrey L. 1999. “Children’s Witnessing of Adult Domestic Violence.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 14 (8). jiv.sagepub.com: 839–70. — and these cases clearly illustrate that connection. In court documents, surviving family members frequently described the lasting psychological impact this had on these children. For example, when 44-year-old Las Vegas resident Troy White shot and killed his estranged wife Echo Lucas, 29, at her residence, five of Echo’s children were in the home. Testimony in the subsequent trial traced the psychological impact the loss had on the children: several developed behavioral problems and one child threatened suicide and was diagnosed with depression and PTSD.State of Nevada v. White, No. C-12-286357-1 (EDCR 2015).

Who Pulled the Trigger

The majority of the shootings (85 percent) were perpetrated by men. The median age of the perpetrators was 46, twenty years older than the median age of gun homicide perpetrators nationwide.Everytown analysis of FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2008-2012, available at: http://bit.ly/1yVxm4K. Median age of gun homicide perpetrators in the United States during this period was 26 years of age. After committing homicide, two-thirds of the shooters (65 percent) killed themselves, a more frequent occurrence among male perpetrators (72 percent) than among female perpetrators (29 percent). All but one of these suicides were completed with a firearm.One suicide was attributed to a fatal drug overdose.

More than half of the couples (56 percent) were currently or formerly married at the time of the homicide. The remainder (44 percent) were current or former dating partners. The vast majority of the couples — at least 93 percent — had lived together prior to or at the time of the incident.

Barred From Possessing Guns

At least twelve shooters (26 percent) had a prior criminal history that prohibited them from possessing firearms. Many of these convictions were for violent crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping, and child abuse. Two additional shooters had prior arrests or convictions not sufficient to disqualify them from possessing firearms.

Of the shooters prohibited from possessing guns, 75 percent had criminal convictions for acts of domestic violence. According to court documents, they had previously beaten, stabbed, verbally threatened, and even shot their intimate partners.

Prior History of Domestic Violence

In more than a quarter of the cases (28 percent), the perpetrator had a documented history of violence, either through a prior domestic violence-related conviction, police involvement, or protection order.Here we assume domestic violence to be in accord with Nevada’s definition.

Gun Source

Twelve homicides were committed by shooters prohibited from possessing guns; by obtaining and reviewing police and court records, Everytown was able to glean information about the source of the firearm in six of them. Two of the perpetrators purchased their guns in unlicensed sales, without background checks. Two of the shootings were perpetrated with guns that had been reported stolen prior to the shooting, though it is unclear how the shooters themselves ultimately obtained the firearms. One shooter borrowed a gun from a friend in the days leading up to the homicide. And one perpetrator used a gun that had belonged to a deceased relative.

In at least three cases, the perpetrator used the victim’s own gun against him or her.

Geographical Trends

Nearly three-quarters of identified intimate partner gun homicides occurred in Clark County.Clark County has the largest population of all counties in Nevada, with nearly 2 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010) Washoe County has the second-largest number of homicides, accounting for 9 percent of the incidents. The remainder occurred in Carson City, Douglas, Elko, Lyon, and White Pine counties. Of the homicides for which we could determine the location, the majority of the incidents (76 percent) took place at the residence of the victim or the shooter. In four incidents (9 percent), the shooter sought out the victim at his or her place of work, and two incidents took place in a vehicle.

Incidents

Korinda Rodriguez, Age 29, Reno

Twenty-nine-year-old Korinda Rodriguez and Jeffrey Rodriguez, 32, woke in the early hours of the morning of July 9, 2012 to get ready for their shifts at a local newspaper, where they were both employed. During the course of an argument, Korinda threatened to leave Jeffrey and to take their three-year-old and four-month-old daughters.

They continued to fight as they left home in separate vehicles, but Jeffrey followed Korinda in his minivan and ran her vehicle into a median along U.S. 395. Then, using one of the two guns he had in the glove compartment of his car, he shot her twice in the chest. Two vehicles of passersby stopped to help, mistakenly thinking the couple had been in an accident. Jeffrey shot at both vehicles. According to court documents, he fled the scene and later returned, where he was arrested.

Jeffrey had previously been convicted of multiple felonies, which prohibited him from possessing firearms under both federal and Nevada law. In 2004 he pleaded guilty to attempted theft; in 2006, to burglary; and in 2008 to sexually motivated coercion of his 11-year-old sister.

Nevada law allowed Jeffrey to evade the background check system by purchasing both guns in unlicensed sales — one from his neighbor and one from his neighbors’ son. After the shooting, Jeffrey told police that he “knew [he] wasn’t really supposed to have [the gun]”, but he also knew that he could purchase a gun from his neighbors without a background check because “Nevada gun laws are pretty lenient.”Transcript of police interview.

For shooting Korinda and at the witnesses, Jeffrey was found guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Brittney Lavoll, Age 22, Las Vegas

At approximately 5:45 a.m. on March 25, 2010, 22-year-old Brittney Lavoll arrived for work at the Jack In The Box on Lake Mead Boulevard in Las Vegas. As she got out of her car, she was approached by 26-year-old Kevin Gipson, a man she had previously dated and with whom she had two children. A struggle broke out and Brittney screamed for help before Gipson shot her in the head at close range with a .25-caliber handgun.

Brittney was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Gipson fled the scene on foot, but under questioning by the police the following day, he confessed to the crime.

At the time of the homicide, Gipson had a criminal history that prohibited him from possessing firearms: In 2003 and 2005, he pleaded guilty to domestic violence misdemeanor, and in 2006 he was found guilty of felony robbery. In the course of the police investigation, numerous parties said that Gipson also had a history of violence against Brittney. A babysitter for Brittney’s three children attested to a violent relationship between the two. Brittney had ended her relationship with Gipson about two and a half years earlier because she suspected he was using drugs. Brittney’s mother Mechele reported that Gipson had threatened to shoot Brittney on previous occasions. And about a month before the homicide, Gipson’s mother contacted Brittney and told her that Gipson had a gun and was on his way to kill her, though he did not ultimately do so at that time.

Gipson told police that he bought the handgun the day before the shooting in an unlicensed sale from a friend, with whom he exchanged cash and marijuana. After the murder he returned the gun to his friend without informing him that it had been used in the commission of a crime.

In 2011, Gipson pleaded guilty to murder with the use of a deadly weapon for shooting Brittney.

Brittney’s death devastated her parents and her children. Mechele described the pain she still deals with five years after Brittney’s death: “Losing a child is a feeling that can’t be explained. I still cry every day for her. I constantly fight back tears when I catch myself staring at [her children] because all three of them have characteristics of Brittney.”Written interview with Everytown, January 9, 2016.

Mary Inman, Age 42, Elko

On April 30, 2011, shortly after 2 p.m., 53-year-old David Heinzig arrived at the Smith Power Products office building in Elko, the workplace of his ex-wife Mary Inman, 42. He broke into Mary’s locked office and shot her multiple times at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun. He then fled in his vehicle and a few hours later was found in a motel room in North Las Vegas with a fatal gunshot wound.

Heinzig had a criminal record that prohibited him from possessing firearms: in 1982, he pleaded guilty to felonious grand larceny in Oklahoma. Heinzig’s and Mary’s relationship, which had ended in divorce in November 2010, had grown increasingly volatile over time. In subsequent interviews with police, family members described Heinzig’s violence against Mary, detailing many incidents including one in which Mary locked herself in a car as Heinzig stood outside of it, threatening her with a gun. Mary was sufficiently worried about Heinzig’s access to the gun that she often tried to hide it from him.

Beginning in the spring of 2010, Mary took out a series of temporary restraining orders against Heinzig, which he violated on at least one occasion by trying to contact Mary and to gain access to her residence. In February of that year Mary took out the last temporary restraining order against him, which was still in effect at the time of the shooting, having been extended several times due to difficulty in scheduling the hearing necessary to issue an extended protection order. Heinzig was prohibited under state and federal law from buying or possessing firearms due to his previous criminal conviction. None of the temporary orders required Heinzig to turn in his guns. Had an extended protection order been issued, the judge could have required Heinzig to turn in any guns in his possession. However, this temporary order provided no such opportunity.

Weeks before the murder, Mary seemed to become increasingly fearful for her life. She frequently spoke about her fears with her sister, Paula Hartbank. According to Paula, Mary told her “If something happens to me, Dave did it.” Two weeks before she was killed, Mary mailed a number of important papers to Paula, including her will, with a note that said “I am sending this to you in case something happens to me.”Phone interview with Everytown, January 5, 2016.

On the morning of Mary’s murder, Paula called Mary to talk. In that phone call Mary said “You know what? I think [Dave] is finally starting to leave me alone.” Forty minutes later, Mary was dead.

Mary comes from a close family, and Paula described the difficulty her mother, siblings, and daughter still face. “It’s just been a hard, hard thing. She was a huge part of our lives…You just wish you could rewind that day and change things for her, for all of us…Mary was around for 41 years of my life. I tried to call her the other day and remembered, ‘Oh my god, I can’t call her.’”Id.

Krystal McAdow, Age 23, Las Vegas

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, on July 17, 2014, 32-year-old Samuel McFarland drove up to the vehicle of his ex-girlfriend, Krystal McAdow, 23, where she was sitting with a friend at a gas pump outside a 7-Eleven on West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, and shot her through the windshield, killing her. McFarland then fled the scene. He was arrested two weeks later in California.

McFarland was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a prior criminal history. In 2005, McFarland pleaded no contest and was found guilty of a domestic violence misdemeanor (battery) against his then-girlfriend, with whom he cohabitated at the time of the incident. In 2012, he was charged with the felony crime of battery with substantial bodily harm, and charges were pending at the time of the homicide. Court records show that McFarland had also been violent towards Krystal in the past. Several days before the homicide, McFarland shot at Krystal, but she was not physically injured, in an incident that was not reported to the police until after Krystal’s death.

After the shooting, police spoke with a friend of McFarland’s who described how McFarland carried guns and bought and sold them through the website Backpage.com, a classified advertising website. Unlicensed sales arranged online — like those at gun shows or in person — are not subject to a background check requirement. The police investigation did not clarify whether McFarland obtained the murder weapon in an unlicensed sale on that website or through other means.

McFarland was charged with murder and, as of March 2016, the case is still pending.

In the days after her daughter’s murder, Krystal’s mother said, “I can’t imagine my life without her, and that’s the hardest thing. Everyone that knew her, every life that she’s touched, you’ll never forget her. She’s unforgettable.”Castelan, A., “Victim’s mother said daughter dated murder suspect,” KSNV News, Jul. 25, 2014, available at: http://bit.ly/1KbXMSZ.

Conclusion

The connection between domestic violence and gun homicides in Nevada is stark, and the incidents detailed in this report display the scale, scope, and dynamics of the problem. Together, they illustrate the devastating impact of intimate partner gun homicides—for those killed, for those injured, for those who witnessed the violence, and for all those left behind.

Because of the risk that firearms pose when they intersect with domestic violence, the best way to prevent intimate partner gun homicides is to enact and implement state laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. These measures include prohibiting all domestic abusers and stalkers from buying or possessing firearms, requiring background checks for all gun sales, and creating processes to ensure that abusers and stalkers who become prohibited from having guns surrender the firearms already in their possession. In 2015, Nevada took the first step by enacting laws to prohibit gun possession by convicted domestic abusers and, in most circumstances, those under domestic violence extended protection orders. Closing the remaining gaps in Nevada’s laws will save lives.

The fatalities documented in this report were not unavoidable. Among other things, stronger gun laws could have prevented many abusers from obtaining firearms. If Nevada policymakers take action to close the loopholes that allow dangerous individuals unrestricted access to firearms, they will make the state a safer place for its residents.

Appendix

Click here for an appendix of the Nevada intimate partner gun homicides researched for this report.