An Everytown for Gun Safety Public Service Announcement states that “women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than they are in any other developed nation. And more than half of all women killed with guns in our country are murdered by their partners.”
In light of these startling statistics, many argue that Everytown for Gun Safety should be focusing on not only keeping firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers (it’s already against federal law for those convicted of domestic abuse to purchase firearms) but also creating a nationwide campaign designed to improve the self-defense posture of American women.
Everytown for gun safety responded to this criticism in an email to GunsAmerica.
“Nothing about background checks for domestic abusers — which is what we support and will be discussed today in the U.S. Senate — will affect the ability of law-abiding women from owning guns and defending themselves,” said Erika Soto Lamb, the group’s communications director.
“But it is important to note that women in domestic conflicts are nearly 10 times more likely to be threatened or shot with a gun than to use the gun in self-defense,” she continued. “And that the mere presence of a gun in a domestic conflict makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed.”
Obviously, many gun owners find those statistics hard to believe due to the fact that the government, which tracks crime figures, does not reliably measure the number of defensive gun uses (DGUs) in a given year because many instances go unreported.
That said, what is apparent in studying instances of DGU versus crime committed with firearms, is that guns are used at least as often by good guys to prevent crime than bad guys to perpetrate crime.
According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”
One can argue that this is all the more reason to take a two-pronged approach: (a) prosecute domestic abusers to the fullest extent of the law and (b) teach more women how to safely and responsibly use firearms for self-defense, in addition to other life-saving techniques to address domestic violence, e.g. martial arts, education on how to recognize and assess threatening behavior and warning signs, information on where to get help, etc.