More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation's highly polarized debate over guns.

Lawmakers and governors of both parties have supported bills stripping gun rights from those who have been convicted of domestic violence-related crimes or are subject to protective orders. The measures have been backed by victims' advocates, law enforcement groups and gun control supporters who see easy access to firearms as a major contributor to domestic violence killings.

Similar proposals are expected to be debated in several states this year.