October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), there have been 487 gun related domestic violence fatalities since the beginning of this year. Many more have been injured by guns and have survived. Research conducted by the American Journal of Public Health indicated that having a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide by an intimate partner by 500%.
New research by University of Pennsylvania professor Susan Sorenson looked at another aspect of domestic violence and guns. Her study focused on the estimated 4.5 million women who have been bullied with guns by their abusive partners. She notes that “if a gun is simply displayed in a hostile way, it can create an environment of threat and intimidation.” This type of coercive control leads to fear that can often go on for years.
The NCADV is advocating for the strengthening of gun safety laws, including:
- Requiring background checks for all gun sales and transfers
- Reinstate the assault weapons ban
- Encourage states to adopt effective firearm surrender and removal protocols for domestic violence cases
- Fund gun reclamation programs following the issuance of a restraining order or conviction
- Create a gun restraining order that would temporarily prohibit a person from purchasing a firearm if they are a danger to themselves or others
The Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence stands with NCADV, and supports these common sense proposals to protect domestic violence victims from their gun wielding abusers.