A raft of new studies have shown that not only does owning a gun increase your chances of being a victim of gun violence, but that risk itself is increased again if you own a gun and are a woman.
Last year the executive vice-president of the NRA Wayne LaPierre told the Conservative Political Action Committee that arming the women of the United States was the best way to protect them from violence: “The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun.” Unfortunately, as with so many of the NRA’s pseudo-scientific claims, the facts do not back him up.
A study in the Annals Of Internal Medicine examining gun violence worldwide proved that women in the United States are disproportionately likely to be victims of gun violence when compared to women in other developed countries:
As reported by The Atlantic “Women in the United States account for 84 percent of all female firearm victims in the developed world, even though they make up only a third of the developed world’s female population. And within American borders, women die at higher rates from suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths in states where guns are more widely available This is true even after controlling for factors such as urbanization, alcohol use, education, poverty, and divorce rates.”
Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that not only are women more likely to be the victims of gun violence, but this violence is more likely to be perpetrated in the home by a male domestic partner than by a stranger:
“More than twice as many women are killed with a gun used by their husbands or intimate acquaintances than are murdered by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means.”
Proponents of gun rights often claim that ownership of firearms are essential for self-defense. However a study published in the American Journal of Public Health interviewed 417 women in 65 battered women’s shelters across the country. One third of the women interviewed came from a home with a gun in it. Of that third, two-thirds had been victims of gun crime of some sort, the most common being a male domestic partner threatening to kill them (71.4%). Just 7% of the women interviewed said they had successfully used a gun in self-defense. The evidence so far suggests that women are more likely to be threatened with a gun than use one to defend themselves.
It has long been established that owning a firearm means you are more likely to be a victim of gun violence. However it is only in the last few years that, after overcoming staunch opposition from the gun lobby, researchers have been able to demonstrate that violence with guns is far more likely to affect women than men. Their findings should have an arresting effect on men in the United States as well: a study analysing homicides in the years 1998-2000 published in 2005 proved that in two-thirds of cases a male partner shot himself after shooting his female partner.
h/t: The Atlantic