The National Rifle Association has claimed that free access to firearms make women safer, arguing that women need guns to protect themselves from robbers, potential rapists, and domestic abusers. According to a new study from the Violence Policy Center (VPC), however, guns are 100 times more likely to be used against women by men than they are by women protecting themselves from men. “Women face the greatest threat from someone they know, most often a spouse or intimate acquaintance, who is armed with a gun. For women in America, guns are not used to save lives, but to take them,” concluded the report.
The VPC’s annual nationwide report on the number of women murdered by men, “When Men Murder Women,” found that 1,600 women were killed by men in 2014 — the most commonly used murder weapons, they reported, were firearms. In that same time period, there were just 15 instances of women using a gun to kill a man in self-defense.
The new findings are the latest data to show the threat that easy access to guns poses to women — particularly women in domestic abuse situations. Just the presence of a gun in a woman’s home triples her odds of being murdered, according to a 1997 study. The same study also found that women killed by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative were seven times more likely to live in a house with at least one gun. More than half of the women killed by their intimate partners between 2001 and 2012 were murdered by guns, according to the Center for American Progress.
Even when guns weren’t used to kill, nearly two-thirds of domestic abusers with access to guns used them to threaten their spouses, according to a survey of women in 67 violence shelters in California. “Guns in the hands of abusers can escalate domestic violence to homicide in the blink of an eye,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center. “Removing guns from a domestic violence situation is crucial.”
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.