October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As we ponder how to lower the number of people who are killed by intimate partners, we must examine the part that the presence of guns plays in making bad situations worse.
In households with a history of domestic violence, there is 20 times more risk of a woman being killed if a gun is present compared with households without guns. Similarly, women make up more than 75 percent of people stalked, and a gun is used to harm or threaten them in 1 in 5 cases. The risk of a homicide for women increases by 500 percent when a gun is present during domestic violence.
Fifty-four percent of women who are killed with guns are killed by an intimate partner or a family member. Women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. The federal law prohibiting people convicted of domestic abuse misdemeanors from possessing guns is ineffective because there is no national background check law that covers all gun sales, including the Internet and gun shows.
California has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, but most of the guns used in California crimes come from Arizona, Nevada and Alaska, where gun laws are lax. We must take action to lessen this danger! Contact your representative or senator to urge a national background-check law.