The Intersection of Firearms and Domestic Violence
For an interesting discussion just released by the U.S. Department of Justice,
Domestic abusers and firearms are a deadly combination. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations significantly increases the risk of homicide, endangering victims, other family members, bystanders and coworkers. Professionals who work in law enforcement and advocacy have found that to reduce domestic violence homicide, the criminal justice system must consistently enforce existing laws and coordinate closely with community organizations.
On October 7, 2016, the Justice Department hosted a panel of experts, including scholars and practitioners, to discuss this potentially deadly intersection. Watch a video of the discussion.
In the United States, when women are murdered, 40 to 50 percent are killed by their husband, boyfriend or ex-partner. That’s nine times the rate killed by strangers. In comparison, 5 to 8 percent of men are killed by their partner.
When laws are in place that restrict abusers from purchasing guns, there is an associated decrease in intimate partner murders. Depending on the source of the data (whether the data come from the state or from large cities within the state), the decrease ranges from 7 to 19 percent. The data refute the hypothesis that abusers who want to kill will simply use another weapon if they don’t have a gun. In fact, guns make it more likely that a death will result.