Here’s a stark reality: 6,358 Americans have been killed by guns in the first six months of 2016 (for reference, more than13,000 were killed in 2015). Since January 1, 2013, more than 1,000 mass shootings—defined as an incident in which four or more people, not including the shooter, are killed—have left at least 1,134 dead and 3,950 injured. As of July 2015, a whopping 85 percent of Americans support measures that would expand background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm.
Earlier this month, Senate Democrats attempted to pass commonsense gun control laws, but to no avail. Senate Republicans blocked all four measures proposed that would expand background checks and increase measures to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. Representative John Lewis led a congressional sit-in on Wednesday, imploring the House GOP to vote on gun legislation. And with the presidential election on the horizon, gun violence prevention is likely to be a huge issue leading up to November (ICYMI: Here’s a primer on where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on guns).
As the gun regulation debate rages on, it’s crucial to remember that gun violence is a women’s issue, especially considering the fact that 50 percent of victims in mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2015 were women. Curious about the devastating effects gun violence has on women? Here are five shocking facts that every woman should know.
In 358 mass shootings occurring in 2015, more than 30 percent of those killed had connections to domestic violence.
A New York Times investigation analyzed statistics from last year’s mass shootings—the paper defined a mass shootings as an event in which four or more, including the shooter, were killed—and a little over 10 percent were tied to domestic abuse (39 of the 358 shootings were domestic violence-related). However, in context of the number of people killed in a 2015 mass shooting, 145 of the 462 deaths were tied to cases of domestic violence, representing 31 percent of the total.
Narrowing down mass shooting credentials (to four people, not including the shooter), many more were tied to domestic violence.
The Huffington Post partnered with Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group backed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, to analyze this subset of mass shooting data. Their research found that in 57 percent of mass shootings between January 2009 and June 2014, the shooter targeted a family member or intimate partner. Though women and children totaled 15 and 7 percent, respectively, of total gun homicides, the number jumped significantly in terms of mass shootings and women and children totaled 64 percent of mass shooting victims.
Domestic abusers and convicted stalkers are not limited from purchasing firearms.
As Everytown for Gun Safety reported, federal law “does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of abusive dating partners or convicted stalkers.” Though the 1996 amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 banned the possession of firearms to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, this provision is extremely limited and does not apply to dating partners or individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking. This is particularly troubling because 25 percent of mass shooting perpetrators that target an intimate partner were never married to them. Even worse, in 35 states, state law does little to enforce this provision to any potentially dangerous individuals—including convicted abusers or those with restraining orders against them—and those who fall into this category can easily circumvent gun prohibitions by purchasing weapons from unlicensed private sellers online or at gun shows.
In 2013, 1,615 women were killed by men.
A report from the Violence Policy Center determined that 94 percent of these women were murdered by someone they knew and 62 percent of the victims were intimate partners—wives or girlfriends—of their killers. One silver lining: Thirty-one percent fewer women were killed by men in 2013 than in 1996 (the year the Violence Policy Center began conducting its research).
Compared with other high-income nations, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be killed by guns.
According to the American Journal of Public Health, women in the U.S. are more likely to killed by a firearm than all other weapons combined. Worse, the presence of a gun in a household afflicted by domestic violence increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.