In light of the Pulse club shooting in Orlando, and the resulting Democratic sit in, I started wondering about gun control or rather, single women and gun ownership. Do you own a gun? I know, I know, it’s kind of a personal question. But I’m curious. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t own one, but I’ve thought about it.
I didn’t grow up around guns nor was I exposed to violence during my childhood. I have, however, been the victim of a crime when I was younger and I’ve often wondered whether the outcome would have been different if I had a gun. I can certainly see how having one can make a person feel empowered but I struggle with owning one. You see, I associate guns with violence and I’m not sure I can separate the two enough to make an effective argument for buying one. I’ve had more than one male friend/boyfriend suggest that because I live alone, I should seriously consider having a gun as a means to protect myself. But how many encounters where guns are present do all parties walk away unharmed? Will owning a gun really make me safer?
I have, however, been the victim of a crime when I was younger and I wonder whether the outcome would’ve been different if I had a gun.
Here are some sobering statistics on gun violence and women (you can find more information at Futures without Violence)-
- 94% of female murder victims killed by men are killed by a man they knew. In other words, females are 16 times as likely to be killed by a male acquaintance than by a male stranger.
- Of females killed by men with a firearm, more than two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners.
- In 2010, 52% of female homicide victims killed by men were shot and killed with a gun. Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined.
- Women suffering from domestic violence are eight times more likely to be killed if there are firearms in the home.
- Handguns are more likely than rifles or shotguns to be used in homicides in which men kill women. In 2010, handguns were used in 70% of cases where men used firearms to kill women.
- In 1998, for every one woman who used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance using a handgun.
- Access to firearms increases risk of intimate partner femicide by more than five times.
The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun. – Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association
What about the guns laws? They’re designed to protect people, right?
It would seem the answer is more grey than black and white. While it’s true that there are some provisions in place to protect us, such as federally mandated background checks–the truth is that you can purchase a gun online which essentially allows an individual to sidestep the whole pesky and bothersome check. Moreover, small-scale sellers, including many who do business at gun shows, are not required to do background checks–this is the so-called gun show loophole.
To make matters worse, background checks vary from state to state. Some states have more stringent systems in place than the federal one. For example, some states require checks before private sales like those at gun shows. Also, some states require a license or permit to own a gun, but most don’t.
What about carrying a weapon? Are there any laws in place?
It would seem, like background checks, the laws on carrying a gun also vary from state to state. Most states allow anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it openly, in public, without requiring a license or permit. A few states also have a no permit requirement to carry a concealed gun. Concealed carry requires a permit in most states, but the majority of those states grant the permits automatically to any legal gun owners who want them. States also vary in their rules on gun possession in specific settings, like campuses and houses of worship. For example, in Rhode Island, any person with a concealed carry permit can bring a gun onto the grounds of a public school, but in Massachusetts (which is right next door), written permission from school officials is required–and rarely given.
You may, or may not, recall when fomer U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during a violent rampage that occurred during a scheduled meet and greet. The video below provides a glimpse into Mrs. Giffords’ efforts since the shooting to raise awareness about gun violence.
So I’ll close this post by asking you once again, do you own a gun? If so, does it make you feel safe?