Despite what conservatives want people to think, as I’ve written before, guns are not rape prevention tools, and they also make it more dangerous for people who are suffering at the hands of the domestic abuser. Statistics show that guns don’t make you safer in domestic abuse situations. They actually have the opposite effect: abusers who have access to a gun are seven times more likely to kill their partners.
Christy Salters Martin, a former boxer, was shot with a gun which she had for her own protection. Via ThinkProgress:
“I was shot with my own gun. Just putting a weapon in the woman’s hand is not going to reduce the number of fatalities or gunshot victims that we have,” Christy pointed out. “Too many times, their male counterpart or spouse will be able to overpower them and take that gun away.”
The evidence backs up Christy’s point. Abusers who have access to a gun are more than seven times more likely to kill their partners. By some estimations, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations — no matter who technically owns it — increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent. In 2011, 44 percent of the women in this country who were killed with guns were murdered by a current or former intimate partner.
“These things are going to continue to happen until Congress steps up and changes these laws,” Christy told ThinkProgress. “And in order for them to act, it’s going to take people like me, survivors, to stand up and say: Be more aware of the gun laws.”
Mass shootings like the ones in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut served as a catalyst to a reinvigorated gun safety movement, but intimate partner violence happens every single day and goes largely unnoticed. These tragedies should be connected to the gun safety debate, too. And we must make it very clear that the presence of a gun actually makes it more dangerous.
Zerlina Maxwell really wants to be a superhero, but will settle for blogging.