Are women protected from domestic violence? Check the laws, by state, and download the fact sheet.
From Everytown for Gun Safety
Each month, 46 women in the United States will be murdered with a gun by an intimate partner.
Women are more than 3½ times as likely to be killed by an intimate partner as men. With a gun in a household:
- In cases of domestic abuse, a gun increases by 20 times the risk that a woman will be killed there, compared to households without guns.
- Similarly, more than 75 percent of stalking victims are women — and stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten their victims in 1 out of 5 cases. The statistics show: Guns plus a history of domestic violence or stalking equals increased risk of death to women.
Congress recognized the risks posed by domestic abusers with guns by passing legislation in the 1990s prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or subject to certain restraining orders from possessing guns.
These laws have been effective in preventing some dangerous individuals from obtaining guns: Since November 1998, more than 104,000 gun sales to convicted domestic abusers have been prevented by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, as well as an additional 44,000 sales to abusers subject to restraining orders.
But, federal laws have significant loopholes that permit dangerous predators easy access to guns.
Four significant weaknesses in the current law leave women vulnerable to gun violence.
• Background checks are not required for all gun sales. The current background check system makes it easy for felons and domestic abusers to buy guns with no questions asked from unlicensed sellers at gun shows, online and just about anywhere else.
• The current gun possession ban on domestic abusers fails to cover dating partners. Federal law protects women victimized by spouses or co-parents, not dating partners
• Convicted stalkers can buy guns. Seven states bar people convicted of misdemeanor stalking crimes from possessing guns. But federal law allows these convicted stalkers to buy guns, despite the often increasingly violent nature of their behavior.
• Law enforcement isn’t doing enough to take guns away from domestic abusers. Too often domestic abusers who are prohibited from gun ownership are not forced to surrender guns they already own..
The bottom line is that it is just too easy for men who seek to harm women to buy and possess guns. As fatal gun violence against women continues, Congress must take action to close these loopholes that put all women in danger.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month
Every month, 46 women are murdered with guns by a current or former intimate partner.Click here to take action.
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