Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Fact Sheet Shows How Massachusetts Laws Aren’t Protecting Women from Domestic Violence
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Fact Sheet Shows How Massachusetts Laws Aren’t Protecting Women from Domestic Violence

Washington, D.C. — In the United States, five women are murdered with guns every day, most often by their intimate partners. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Center for American Progress and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have released fact sheets for all 50 states providing detailed information about the scope of fatal domestic violence and the large role access to guns plays in that violence in each state.

Domestic violence fatalities are prevalent in Massachusetts, and they are frequently a result of gun crime: According to the FBI, nearly one-quarter of the women murdered by an intimate partner in Massachusetts from 2003 to 2012 were killed with a gun. Massachusetts has many of the laws recommended by CAP and the Law Center to provide adequate protection for women from domestic gun violence, including comprehensive background checks for all gun sales, but more can be done to protect women in Massachusetts. Click here to read the fact sheet.

“This summer, Massachusetts enacted new legislation that will protect women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, from fatal gun violence,” said John Rosenthal, founder and chairman of the Board of Stop Handgun Violence. “While Massachusetts is leading the nation by closing gaps in our law, there is still work left to be done. Congress must act, and there is still more we can do in Massachusetts to protect all women from this tragic risk. This needless gun violence can and must be stopped, and the gaps in our system meant to protect victims of domestic violence must be closed.”

“When domestic violence becomes fatal, it is often due to the availability of a gun,” said Chelsea Parsons, Director of Crime and Firearms Policy at the Center for American Progress. “The risks faced by victims of domestic abuse are compounded by lax federal and state laws that allow dangerous abusers and stalkers to have easy access to guns. Elected leaders need to take action to better protect women from gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers.”

“When it’s five times more likely that a woman will be killed by her abuser when he owns a gun, we know that guns make a domestic violence situation deadly,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “As a nation, we are failing to protect women from domestic abusers and stalkers by not closing these dangerous loopholes in our federal and state laws. The American public and legislators nationwide need to understand the facts on the lethal combination of guns and domestic abuse and support these common-sense solutions to save women’s lives.”

Today, CAP is also launching, a new website that provides state-specific information about the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence and highlights the work of partner organizations such as Americans for Responsible Solutions, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Everytown for Gun Safety. The website supports the work of the Protect All Women Leadership Network, a national network of women leaders seeking solutions that protect women from gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers and stalkers.

In June, CAP released a first-of-its-kind report analyzing the connection between gun violence and domestic and intimate partner violence and the failure of states and the federal government to take steps to curb firearm assaults within the existing legal framework.

For more information on this topic, contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or [email protected].