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Beyond Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers

2018 Report

About every 16 hours, a woman is shot and killed by a former or current partner.

One out of every three women murdered in 2016 was killed by an intimate partner with a gun. Brady's 2018 report explores these tragic statistics and the stories behind them, as well as ways to save lives moving forward.

The report finds that:

  • About every 16 hours, a woman is shot and killed by a former or current partner;
  • 54 percent 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;
  • One 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.
Women in America are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Kate Ranta was shot by her husband in front of her 4-year-old son. She's using her story to inspire change.

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.


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