American women are particularly vulnerable to certain forms of gun violence, including homicides by domestic abusers and stalkers. More than two-thirds of those murdered by their spouses between 1980 and 2008 were killed with guns. Moreover, abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm. These statistics represent real people whose lives could have been saved if their abusers didn’t have access to guns.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has partnered with the Center for American Progress to develop 50 factsheets—one for each state—summarizing current laws on domestic violence and guns and offering straightforward, real-world solutions for how smart gun laws can better protect women.
States are beginning to recognize the urgency of this issue, and, since 2009, state legislatures have passed 30 new laws addressing the role guns play in domestic violence. The strongest laws require domestic abusers to surrender any guns already in their possession when they become prohibited from possessing firearms.
The Law Center’s legal experts have identified four main policies that states and the federal government should enact to block domestic abusers from buying and possessing guns:
- Bar all convicted abusers, stalkers, and people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns
- Require background checks for all gun sales to prevent convicted abusers and stalkers from buying guns
- Extend protections to victims of dating partner violence
- Provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to ensure that domestic abusers surrender guns in their possession
With these commonsense policies in place, we can help reduce domestic abusers’ access to guns and save lives.
Find your state’s factsheet below to learn more about the smart gun laws that can protect women from gun violence.