Shining A Light On Gun Violence
Each and every one of us has an important role to play in the fight against gun violence.
Gun violence casts a dark shadow over our communities, and talking or thinking about it can feel overwhelming. But gun violence impacts everyone in our community, and we all have an important part to play in ending gun violence. That’s why we are shining a light on gun violence, specifically how it intersects with intimate partner violence. Read this page to learn more about the impact of firearms in abusive situations, the connection between intimate partner violence and mass shootings, and tips for gun safety.
The Relationship Between Intimate Partner Violence and Mass Shootings
Gun violence, and mass shootings in particular have been receiving a lot of attention recently. Whether they happen at a school, a mall, a workplace, or a festival, mass shootings have a deep impact on not only those who directly experience them, but entire communities. Something you may not know, is that these shootings have a meaningful connection to intimate partner violence. In fact, almost 60% of mass shootings are domestic violence related, where the perpetrator either killed family or intimate partners, or the shooter had a history of domestic violence. Addressing intimate partner and family violence is important not just for survivors, but for entire communities.
The Relationship Between Intimate Partner Violence and Firearms
In abusive situations, having firearms in the home can have serious consequences for all involved.
The presence of firearms in an abusive relationship can make an already dangerous situation worse, and having access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of a domestic abuser. Over 4.5 million women report having been threatened by a gun by an intimate partner, and almost one million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. While severe violence and homicide can still occur without a gun, nearly two-thirds of intimate partner homicides in the United States are committed with one. Intimate Partner Homicides committed with firearms are also increasing, with a 15 percent increase in gun related homicides between 2011 and 2020. Black, Indigenous and Latinx individuals are victims of intimate partner firearm homicide at the highest rates, and Native American/Alaskan Native women in particular are nearly four times more likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner as compared to white women.
How to Be A Safe Gun Owner
If you possess firearms, it is important that you ensure they are safely secured, and cannot be accessed by children or unauthorized parties. Here are some tips for how to be a responsible gun owner:
Have multiple safeguards in place. For example, even if you use a trigger lock, you should still store ammunition separately.
Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case.
You can also use a gun lock or trigger lock, which prevent the firearm from being used. These should be used in addition to, not in place of locked cabinets, vault or safes.
Store ammunition in a locked safe, separate from your firearms.
Educate yourself about the risks associated with firearms.
Report any lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. 380,000 guns are stolen annually from private gun owners, and the number of guns stolen increased nearly 60% between 2006 and 2016.
Pledge to Be A Bright Light in the Fight Against Gun Violence
Campbell, J. C. et al. “Risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships: results from a multisite case control study”. American Journal of Public Health. (2003).
Geller, L.B., Booty, M. & Crifasi, C.K. The role of domestic violence in fatal mass shootings in the United States, 2014–2019. Inj. Epidemiol. 8, 38 (2021).