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Issues

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

What is the problem?

Domestic violence and gun violence are deeply interconnected, impacting millions of women, families, and communities across the US. Guns are more likely to turn abuse fatal.

In the US, the crisis of domestic violence is closely linked to the widespread and growing use of guns by abusers. The majority of women killed by an intimate partner are killed with a gun.1Everytown Research analysis of CDC, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), 2020. Analysis includes firearm homicides involving an intimate partner and women 18 years and older. See also, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat: United States,” https://everystat.org/. Existing loopholes in federal and state law allow access to guns by abusive partners and stalkers, often with deadly results. Common-sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of abusive partners can reduce gun violence and domestic violence.2April M. Zeoli et al., “Analysis of the Strength of Legal Firearms Restrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Their Associations with Intimate Partner Homicide,” American Journal of Epidemiology 187, no. 11 (November 2018): 2365–71, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy174; Carolina Diez et al., “State Intimate Partner Violence-Related Firearm Laws and Intimate Partner Homicide Rates in the United States, 1991 to 2015,” Annals of Internal Medicine 167, no. 8 (October 2017): 536–43, https://doi.org/10.7326/M16-2849; April M. Zeoli and Daniel W. Webster, “Effects of Domestic Violence Policies, Alcohol Taxes, and Police Staffing Levels on Intimate Partner Homicide in Large US Cities,” Injury Prevention 16, no. 2 (2010): 90–95, https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/16/2/90Maeve E. Wallace et al., “Firearm Relinquishment Laws Associated with Substantial Reduction in Homicide of Pregnant and Postpartum Women,” Health Affairs 40, no. 10 (2021): 1654–62, https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2021.01129.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. You can also find more resources on legal assistance in English and Spanish at WomensLaw.org.

Why is it an issue?

Abusers use guns to threaten and control victims. These threats often escalate to murder. Hundreds of women are shot and killed by an intimate partner every year,1Everytown Research analysis of CDC, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), 2020. Analysis includes firearm homicides involving an intimate partner and women 18 years and older. See also, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat: United States,” https://everystat.org/. and nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners.2Everytown Research analysis of the National Violence Against Women Survey (Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, “Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” November 2000, https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf) and US Census 2020. More than four times as many have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner.3Everytown Research analysis of the National Violence Against Women Survey (Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, “Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” November 2000, https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf) and US Census 2020. The ripple effects of guns in the hands of an abuser extend far beyond the intimate relationship. This affects children, family members, coworkers, and the law enforcement officers who respond to acts of domestic violence. The deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence has a disproportionate impact on Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latina women.4Everytown Research analysis of CDC, National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), 2020. Analysis includes firearm homicides involving an intimate partner and women 18 years and older. See also, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “EveryStat: United States,” https://everystat.org/. Research clearly shows that federal and state policies and practices that disrupt abusers’ access to guns can save lives.5April M. Zeoli et al., “Analysis of the Strength of Legal Firearms Restrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Their Associations with Intimate Partner Homicide,” American Journal of Epidemiology 187, no. 11 (November 2018): 2365–71, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy174; Carolina Diez et al., “State Intimate Partner Violence-Related Firearm Laws and Intimate Partner Homicide Rates in the United States, 1991 to 2015,” Annals of Internal Medicine 167, no. 8 (October 2017): 536–43, https://doi.org/10.7326/M16-2849; April M. Zeoli and Daniel W. Webster, “Effects of Domestic Violence Policies, Alcohol Taxes, and Police Staffing Levels on Intimate Partner Homicide in Large US Cities,” Injury Prevention 16, no. 2 (2010): 90–95, https://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/16/2/90Maeve E. Wallace et al., “Firearm Relinquishment Laws Associated with Substantial Reduction in Homicide of Pregnant and Postpartum Women,” Health Affairs 40, no. 10 (2021): 1654–62, https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2021.01129.

By the numbers

What are the solutions?

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Domestic Violence

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