Gabby Giffords, Sen. Klobuchar, Law Enforcement, and Survivors Join CAP President Neera Tanden in Calling for Action on the Intersection of Guns and Violence Against Women
First of its kind CAP report shows the links between gun violence and domestic and intimate partner violence and that few states are submitting complete domestic violence records to background check system.
More than 50 domestic violence and gun violence prevention advocates from 14 states will meet with policymakers to promote better federal legislation and develop strategies to pass important laws in their states.
Washington D.C. – Five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States, most often by their intimate partners. In a first-of-its-kind report, the Center for American Progress analyzes the connection between gun violence and domestic and intimate partner violence and the failure of states and the federal government to takes steps to curb firearm assaults within the existing legal framework.
CAP released the report today at a panel discussion co-hosted by CAP, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The panel featured former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), Captain Mark Kelly, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Police Chief Saundra Rhodes of Horry County, South Carolina, shooting survivor Sarah Engle, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s Roberta Valente. The event focused on the need for state and federal governments to pass legislation that better protects women from gun violence and improve existing policies to ensure that those with a history of domestic violence are not able to possess firearms.
“The recent shooting in Isla Vista, California, focused the nation’s attention on the connection between gun violence and violence against woman,” said CAP President Neera Tanden, moderator of the event. “But the sad fact is that abusers and stalkers are shooting and killing women every day in our country. In the past 15 years, gun background checks have blocked more than 100,000 abusers from buying guns, but our report demonstrates that Washington and state legislators need to take additional action to protect women by keeping guns away from dangerous abusers and stalkers.”
“At a time when one in six women have been stalked at some point during their lives, we simply have to do more to keep these victims safe,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “That’s why I have introduced common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence by stalkers and protect victims, and I will continue to fight to put an end to these horrific crimes.”
The report, titled “Women Under the Gun: How Gun Violence Affects Women and 4 Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them,” combines data not previously analyzed or available to the public to show the linkages between gun violence and domestic violence, how the system allows this violence to take place, and ways in which states and the federal government can better protect women from domestic abusers with firearms.
Some of the conclusions found in the report include:
- A high proportion of gun deaths of women can be linked to domestic violence and intimate partner violence: From 2001 through 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States 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.
- Nationwide, 34 percent of female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner, and 55 percent of these victims were killed with a gun.
- Only three states appear to be submitting complete records to the FBI background check system, and many states are not providing any records at all.
“Most incidents of fatal domestic abuse involve guns,” said Arkadi Gerney, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “These challenges are deeply intertwined. Protecting women involves four key actions: expanding the gun possession prohibition to include dating partners and stalkers; flagging more records of prohibited abusers for the gun background check system; requiring background checks on all gun sales; and making sure the court system and law enforcement have the tools they need to disarm prohibited abusers.”
Following the panel discussion, the Center for American Progress is convening more than 50 domestic violence and gun violence prevention advocates from 14 states for a five-hour strategy session regarding advancing federal legislation and making progress in the states. Also participating in the session are representatives from a variety of national and state domestic violence and gun violence groups, including Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. On Thursday, June 19, the state advocates will be meeting with senators and representatives to discuss policy recommendations to strengthen laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and stalkers.
“After being raped and nearly killed with a firearm by my ex-boyfriend, I can tell you that women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, are at an unacceptable risk of fatal gun violence,” said Sarah Engle, a victim of domestic gun violence. “I survived for a reason: to tell my story and bring changes to this broken system. More needs to be done to protect abused women from gun violence and this report makes clear how we can do that.”
“As an officer for more than 21 years, and now as a chief of police, I see every day how women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, are at a higher risk of fatal gun violence,” said Saundra Rhodes, chief of police for Horry County, South Carolina. “In 2013, South Carolina ranked number one in the rate of females murdered by males, and more than 57 percent of those women killed are by a gun. The gaps in our system to protect victims of domestic violence from guns must be closed.”
Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline says, “Every day, our expert advocates answer calls, chats, and texts from women who fear for their lives and those of their children. Many of them have partners who either own or have access to a firearm. These women tell us their intimate partners have beaten them with their guns, shot them, and threatened to kill their children and themselves if they try to leave. They are scared and they need our help now.”
For more information, contact Tom Caiazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.7141.