As we recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Day this week, we are reminded of the pervasive and seemingly unconquerable issue of gun violence in the United States. But this day of awareness also gives us the opportunity to acknowledge how gun violence effects women specifically ― and why gun violence is very much a women’s issue.
As former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords put it at the 2015 Domestic Violence Awareness Summit, “dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. Criminals with guns. Abusers with guns. Stalkers with guns. That makes gun violence a women’s issue. For mothers, for families, for me and you.” Giffords was shot in the head at a Tucson constituent meeting in 2011, and has since used her political presence to advocate for commonsense gun laws.
The statistics about gun violence and women’s health and safety that Giffords spoke of couldn’t be more damning: as the numbers show below, gun violence is heavily intertwined with the issue of domestic and intimate partner violence ― and women are the most affected population of this lethal combination.
In recognition of the tragic impact the lack of sensible gun control has on American society, here are 11 sobering statistics that remind us gun violence is, unequivocally, a women’s issue:
The number of states that don’t require those prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to domestic violence charges to relinquish the firearms they already own.
The number of people killed by firearms annually in the U.S. by intimate partners.
80 percent of people killed by firearms annually in the U.S. by intimate partners are women.
The percentage of intimate partner murders that involve a fatal gunshot.
Domestic violence victims are 5 times more likely to be killed if her partner owns a gun.
A woman in the U.S. is fatally shot by her current or former intimate partner every 16 hours.
The percentage of mass shootings in the years of 2008-2013 that involved intimate partners.
American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a firearm than women in any other developed nation.
The percent of Americans who support barring people from owning a firearm if they’ve been issued a restraining order or have been convicted of stalking.
The number of women living in domestic violence shelters in California who were threatened or harmed with a firearm by their domestic partners.
Number of states without laws complementing federal prohibitions against those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence buying or using guns. That can make it harder for local officials to enforce those prohibitions, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said that in 35 states, those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or restraining order charges can still buy or use a firearm. While those states lack their own prohibitions against gun possession for such domestic abusers, it is still illegal under federal law.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.