Washington, D.C. — As domestic violence survivors and victim advocates observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month throughout October, the Center for American Progress has released a new report that, among other gun violence measures, provides a 50-state ranking of the rates of intimate partner gun homicides of women in the United States.
A previous CAP analysis found that, from 2005 to 2014, roughly one-third of murders of American women were committed by an intimate partner and half of those homicides were committed with a gun. Through a review of the FBI Supplemental Homicide Data, CAP’s newest analysis reveals that, from 2005 to 2014, South Carolina, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, and Oklahoma have the highest rates of intimate partner gun homicides against women. Illinois and Massachusetts have the lowest rates of intimate partner gun homicides against women, with less than one case per every 1 million women.
“Gun violence affects men and women alike, but the intersection between intimate partner violence and gun violence is overwhelmingly felt by women. Every five hours in the United States, a woman is murdered with a gun, oftentimes at the hands of an intimate or domestic partner,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “Although some states have taken steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers, gaps in current federal and state laws allow many abusers to continue to have easy access to guns.”
Federal law currently prohibits only some abusers and stalkers from purchasing or possessing guns, despite the fact that the deadly intersection between domestic violence and gun violence is well established. When domestic abusers have easy access to guns, the risk that a woman will be murdered increases exponentially: The risk of lethality of violence against women by a relative or an intimate partner is eight times higher in homes without a gun and is 20 times greater when there is a previous history of domestic violence.
To protect women from gun violence at the hands of abusers and stalkers, CAP has previously proposed:
- Prohibiting all domestic and intimate partner abusers and stalkers from possessing guns
- Ensuring that all records of prohibited abusers are provided to the background check system
- Requiring background checks for all gun sales
- Ensuring that prohibited abusers surrender their guns and that law enforcement has the tools it needs to prosecute abusers who attempt to evade the law
In addition to ranking all 50 states on the rate of intimate partner gun homicides of women, CAP’s analysis also ranks each state on the rate of overall gun deaths; the rate of gun suicides; the rate of gun homicides; the rate of fatal gun accidents; the rate of mass shootings; the rate of guns deaths among people younger than age 21; the rate of law enforcement officers feloniously killed with a firearm; the rate of fatal shootings by police; and crime gun export rates. Based on these measures, each state was then given a composite gun violence index ranking. The report also found a strong correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and levels of gun violence in the state: the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collective have rates of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.
Read the report: “America Under Fire: An Analysis of Gun Violence in the United States and the Link to Weak Gun Laws” by Chelsea Parsons and Eugenio Weigend
View an interactive map: “Gun Violence Across America”
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.