If you or someone you know needs help or a safe place, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE
Washington, D.C., October 12, 2018 - As the country recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and ahead of the Week of Action, a new report highlights that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been the victim of physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Many of these domestic violence cases result in a shooting, with one out of every three women murdered in 2016 being killed by an intimate partner with a gun. And between 2006 and 2016, an average of more than 525 women were shot and murdered by an intimate partner. The report from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Beyond Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers,” explores these tragic statistics and the stories behind them, as well as ways to save lives moving forward.
“Countless women and men face the terrors of domestic violence in their lives, and when a gun is brought into the situation, victims who are already afraid for their lives are tormented even further. The painful truth is that the mere presence of a gun is a key factor in an abusive partner turning into a killer,” stated Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Center.
In 2018, it is projected that over 10 million people will become victims of physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Already, there have been more than 485 gun-related domestic violence fatalities in 2018. The report further shows that:
- About every 16 hours, a woman is shot and killed by a former or current partner;
- 54% of mass shootings are related to domestic or family violence;
- Women who were killed by a spouse, intimate partner, or close relative were 7 times more likely to have lived in homes with guns;
- 1 out of every 15 children in the U.S. is exposed to the effects of intimate partner violence yearly; and
- When there is a gun in a home with a history of domestic violence, there is a 500% higher chance that a woman will be murdered.
The report also notes that America’s lax gun laws make the issue even more acute, with American women being 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than in other high-income countries. While the federal Brady background check system bars people convicted of domestic violence crimes or who are subject to restraining orders for certain types of domestic violence from purchasing guns, one in five guns today are sold without a background check, whether online, at gun shows, or in other private sales. Proposed legislation to further restrict domestic abusers from buying guns include:
- Expanding background checks to cover all private sales, as has been done to some degree in 20 states and Washington D.C.;
- State-level laws that create a way to prosecute abusers at the local level;
- Expanding the federal definition of “domestic violence” to include dating partners who do not have a child together, otherwise known as the “boyfriend loophole;”
- Enacting laws preventing stalkers from buying and keeping guns; and
- Creating a process for states to seize guns previously owned by perpetrators of domestic violence or who have had protective orders issued against them.
If you or someone you know needs help or a safe place, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or go to thehotline.org to chat without having to say a word. The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE is available to victims and survivors, and can refer you to a local crisis center.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in the common sense. In the spirit of our founders Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 25 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.