There is an epidemic of gun violence plaguing our country: The U.S. is an “extreme outlier” when compared to levels of violence in other advanced nations. Gun homicides kill about as many people in the U.S. as car accidents do. We are appalled by the mass shootings that have become so commonplace, yet fail to spur any significant action from our lawmakers. Your vote can change that. Whether you think semiautomatic weapons should be pulled from shelves, or whether you believe that what’s in your gun safe is no one else’s business, you need to vote.
While our country faces a spate of random killings, a notable segment of gun-related crimes are carried out against specific targets. JWI is keenly aware of the impact gun violence has on women. Women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. The NRA loves to tell women about stranger danger and how having a gun will help them protect themselves from intruders, robbers, and would-be rapists. In truth, more than 90 percent of women killed by men knew their killer; usually, that man is an intimate partner. It might seem like the logical response for women in abusive relationships is to arm themselves. However, when there’s a gun in a domestic violence situation, women’s risk of homicide increases by 500 percent. Abusers also use guns to control and threaten their victims. Finally, despite what the deadliest attacks might lead you to believe, the majority of mass shootings are actually related to domestic violence.
So how can your vote change that? We’ve already seen that background checks in gun sales significantly decrease the number of women killed by intimate partners. Convicted abusers and stalkers should not be allowed access to guns, but federal law doesn’t write itself. If you think dangerous people and guns are a bad mix, you need to vote.