Washington, D.C. — Six out of ten women who were killed by intimate partners in 2012 were murdered with guns; yet, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) failed to show up at a landmark Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence, titled “VAWA Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence.” The Center for American Progress and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have released fact sheets for 27 states providing detailed information about the scope of fatal domestic violence and the large role access to guns plays in that violence in each state.
Domestic violence fatalities are prevalent in Arizona, where 41 percent of homicides are committed in a domestic violence context and 60 percent of those murders involve a gun, according to the statewide domestic violence fatality review board. Gun violence is so common in Arizona that one person is killed with a gun roughly every 10 hours. More than 9,000 people were killed with guns in the state from 2001 to 2010—more than double the U.S. combat deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
“As someone who needed to seek out a domestic violence restraining order, I have seen firsthand that women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, are at an unacceptable risk of fatal gun violence,” said Gerry Hills, founder of Arizonans for Gun Safety. “As today’s Senate hearing makes clear, this needless gun violence can and must be stopped by closing the gaps in our system to protect victims of domestic violence. Congress must act, and as a member of the committee reviewing this issue, Sen. Jeff Flake needs to stand up and lead this effort to protect all of our families from this tragic risk.”
The 27 fact sheets describe the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“More often than not, fatal domestic abuse involves a gun,” said Arkadi Gerney, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “These deeply intertwined challenges are made all the more dangerous by lax federal and state laws that allow dangerous abusers and stalkers to acquire guns. Good people in Arizona should be asking Sen. Flake why he chose to skip today’s hearing and the opportunity to hear from law enforcement and domestic violence survivors about the risks of stalkers and abusers who have easy access to guns.”
“When it’s five times more likely that a woman will be killed by her abuser when he owns a gun, we know that guns make a domestic violence situation deadly,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “As a nation, we are failing to protect women from domestic abusers and stalkers by not closing these dangerous loopholes in our federal and state laws. The American public and legislators nationwide need to understand the lethal combination of guns and domestic abuse and support these common-sense solutions to save women’s lives.”
Last month, CAP released a first of its kind report analyzing the connection between gun violence and domestic and intimate partner violence and the failure of states and the federal government to take steps to curb firearm assaults within the existing legal framework.