Gun Reform Now

[Content Note: Guns; domestic violence; violence against women.]

Andrea Grimes has a great (well-written) and terrible (difficult content) piece at RH Reality Check about "Abusers, Guns, and the Women They Kill." I really encourage you to read the entire thing, if you've got the spoons, because it is a perfect distillation of one argument among many while we need gun reform in the United States—an argument no decent person would even attempt to refute.

Here is just a brief excerpt about the realities of guns and domestic violence:
What hard evidence does show is that while the "why" may never be satisfactorily answered in every situation, we know, definitively, how most U.S. women killed by abusive partners meet their end: They are shot to death.

According to a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the risk of homicide against women increases 500 percent when a gun is present in domestic violence situations, and the FBI estimates that in 2010, 64 percent of women murdered with guns were killed by a current or former intimate partner. The Violence Policy Center reports that in 2010, the number of women shot and killed by partners was six times higher than the number killed by strangers using all other weapons combined.

In Texas, the numbers echo national estimates: the Texas Council on Family Violence reports that, in 2011, firearms were used in 64 percent of 102 cases where women were murdered by current or former intimate partners. The FBI also estimates that, in states where a background check is required for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot and killed by abusive partners. Texas is not one of those states.

When it comes to the should-haves and could-haves of domestic violence murders, one "should" appears to be clear: Domestic abusers should not have access to firearms. But abusers can easily sidestep background checks by purchasing from private sellers, or shopping for weapons at a gun show, and efforts to close those loopholes have been thwarted.

Earlier this year, pressure from the national gun lobby overshadowed the overwhelming evidence connecting domestic violence homicides to guns when the U.S. Senate rejected tougher gun laws that would have expanded those background checks and banned some semi-automatic weapons.
And I also want to note, once again, that women who use guns, as gun advocates routinely recommend, to protect themselves from domestic violence, are typically charged, tried, and convicted, especially women of color like Marissa Alexander.

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