AUSTIN, Texas – A Central Texas group that supports survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence wants lawmakers to keep weapons out of the hands of abusers.

The gunman who killed 26 people at a Sutherland Springs church had a violent past with mounting warning signs. The shooter was kicked out of the military after being convicted of assault during his time in the Air Force. He was accused of beating his wife at the time and stepson.

The Safe Alliance says more than 50 percent of the mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 are connected to domestic or family violence.

“If a person is being violent towards a girlfriend or a partner and then they feel the need to control them even more, then they will begin to make threats to other family members to the children to the in-laws and to that whole community,” said Julia Spann with Safe Alliance. “They need to kind of control and punish even a broadening sector begins to happen.”

The group also believes there needs to be a shift in cultural norms that condone violence. They urge anyone who sees or suspects abuse to speak up.

Safe Alliance has a 24-hour hotline called SAFEline at 512-267-7233.

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