Women, it’s a jungle out there—but it might as well be a war. Did you know that from 2001 to 2012 more women got shot and killed by an intimate partner than soldiers killed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?
According to a new study from the Center for American Progress, 11,102 North Carolina women died of domestic violence during that period. We often talk about gun control as it relates to mass-killing events. We forget that five American women die each day at the hands of a partner who grabbed a gun instead of taking a walk after a fight.
Compared to other first-world countries, the United States stands alone on this. American women are 11 times more likely to get murdered with a gun than women in other first-world countries.
In North Carolina, women face further dangers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in five homicides in North Carolina in 2011 occurred at the hands of family members or partners—and more than 60% of all female homicide victims died due to a domestic violence incident.
I can’t help but wonder why people with histories of anger issues or domestic violence have the right to carry a gun. An analysis of North Carolina’s laws by the Center for American Progress determined that our state has “weak restrictions on access to firearms by domestic abusers.” North Carolina does require some domestic abusers covered by a protective order to surrender their firearms, but not always. Furthermore, the requirement to surrender firearms only applies to opposite-sex couples, and not same-sex partners. In other words: North Carolina, unlike federal law, does not automatically bar a person convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm.
It’s super easy to obtain a handgun in this state. Handgun purchasers need only to obtain a permit with a background check for hand guns – not rifles or shotguns.
I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked by all this information. To echo a previous piece I wrote on gun control: please check your NRA cards at the door. This isn’t about the freedom to own a gun; this is about common sense.
Someone with a known history of violence and abuse to their partner has no business possessing a device that could permanently end a life. While a bullet kills instantly, at least victims have a possible, fighting chance against a fist.
Here are a few recommendations from the Center for American Progress Report:
- Bar all convicted abusers, stalkers, and people subject to related restraining orders from possessing guns.
- Provide all records of prohibited abusers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- Require a background check for all gun sales.
- Ensure that abusers surrender any firearms they own once they become prohibited.