Fact Sheet

Fact Sheets: Protecting Women from Gun Violence

Some states have already enacted some of these policies, but many are falling short in enacting strong laws to protect women from fatal gun violence.

See also: Women Under the Gun by Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons

Some of these fact sheets that were originally published in June and July have been updated with more recent data. 

See New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, and Oregon facts sheets for state-specific corrections and updates.

Five women are murdered with a gun in the United States every day, most often by an intimate partner. From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in this country by an intimate partner using a gun—more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. A key factor in reducing murders of women is, therefore, preventing dangerous domestic abusers from having easy access to guns.

There are four policies that states and the federal government should enact to block domestic abusers from buying and possessing guns and prevent murders of women:

  • Bar all convicted abusers, stalkers, and people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from gun possession.
  • Provide all records of prohibited abusers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
  • Require a background check for all gun sales.
  • Provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to ensure that domestic abusers surrender guns in their possession.

Some states have already enacted some of these policies, but many are falling short in enacting strong laws to protect women from fatal gun violence. For more information about the law in specific states, see the following fact sheets, created in partnership with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Chelsea Parsons is Director of Crime and Firearms Policy at American Progress. Lauren Speigel is the Research Associate for the Crime and Firearms Policy team at American Progress. Lindsey Zwicker is staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Chelsea Parsons

Vice President, Gun Violence Prevention

Lauren Speigel

Research Associate, Guns and Crime Policy

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