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Johnsburg man fights for gun law changes after sister's murder

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 11:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 1:22 p.m. CDT

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JOHNSBURG – Elvin Daniel is in it for the long haul.

Daniel, a Johnsburg resident, testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on two bills designed to expand the range of firearm background checks, the third effort that he has promoted since his sister, Zina Haughton, was killed by her estranged husband.

He doesn’t expect this one to succeed either.

“We knew coming into it that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Daniel said.

Haughton, 42, was shot along with six others by her husband, Radcliffe Haughton, 45, at the salon and spa where she worked in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in October 2012. She was killed, along with two of her co-workers.

Radcliffe Haughton later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Zina Haughton, a mother of two, had filed for divorce, and an order of protection against her husband had been granted after he slashed the tires of her car while she was at work. He was prohibited under the restraining order to have a gun.

But Radcliffe Haughton was able to obtain a gun from a private seller he found online.

The shooting happened the next day.

That’s why Daniel and his wife, Cheryl, have been advocating in the Wisconsin State Legislature and Congress for universal background checks, as well as some other measures, including expanded use of GPS monitoring, despite his status as a gun owner and National Rifle Association member.

“In my own mind, I thought that just because I went through a background check, everybody had to go through a background check, and then we started finding out about the loopholes,” he said. “I truly believe to this day that Zina may still be alive and with us today [if those loopholes had been closed].”

Jane Farmer, the executive director of Woodstock-based Turning Point, sees firearms playing an increased role in domestic violence.

“It’s not something that’s always used against his partner, but it’s something that he’ll lay on the table during an argument or he’ll wear as he’s moving around the room,” she said.

Turning Point provided services last year to 1,727 women, men and children who have been the victims of domestic abuse. It also has a secure shelter for women and children on site. It housed 59 women and 45 children for 5,546 nights of shelter, a 25 percent increase over the previous year.

Nearly a third of women in the U.S. have been hurt physically by an intimate partner, according to a survey started in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Justice and the Department of Defense.

The most common form of violence the survey found was being pushed or shoved, but the use of a knife or gun was reported by nearly 5 percent of women.

Most people are surprised by how prevalent domestic violence is, and many, like Daniel, don’t know that a family member is a victim, Farmer said.

The most important thing they can do is learn about domestic violence and help the victim get through it, she said, adding that women, on average, leave an abusive partner seven times before finally leaving for good.

While McHenry County’s law enforcement agencies are doing a pretty good job, Farmer said, at addressing domestic violence and the county’s domestic violence court program is excellent, she thinks there’s always improvements to be made.

Daniel thinks so, too.

“Zina was filled with goodness, and some goodness has to come out of this,” he said.

By the numbers

Nearly one-third of women and about 28 percent of men in the U.S. have experience physical violence by an inmate partner in their lifetime, according to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.

They survey also found that about one in 10 women in the U.S. have been raped by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

One in six women and one in 12 men have experienced some other form of sexual violence.

To help Azana survivors

A fundraiser is planned for the victim’s of the Azana Salon and Spa shooting.

It will take place at noon Sept. 7 at Caledonia-Mount Pleasant Memorial Park, 9416 Northwestern Ave., Franksville, Wisconsin. For information, search “Azana’s Wounded Victim’s Fundraiser” on Facebook.

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