It's not exactly breaking news that gun enthusiasts oppose stronger gun laws intended to curb domestic violence and save lives. The NRA is on record, after all, fighting to keep guns in the hands of domestic abusers. More recently, the gun lobby has been busy arguing that women need guns to defend themselves, with one of them going so far as to claim feminists support Stand Your Ground laws.
Survivors of domestic violence, on the other hand, are taking time during this awareness month to testify before Congress in support of stronger gun laws. ThinkProgress interviewed one of these survivors about her personal experience, which doesn't fit the NRA script of armed women naturally resulting in righteous self-defense and safety.
Shapiro says feminists support Stand Your Ground.— Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy) October 29, 2013
I had no idea feminists were on record in monolithic support of Stand Your Ground laws. This I had to see. That was Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, testifying at the Senate hearing on Stand Your Ground laws. The video doesn't want to embed here for some reason, but I did transcribe the relevant portion.
Among those harmed by the duty to retreat are domestic violence victims, who turn on their assailants. Feminists thus support Stand Your Ground, and point out that "you could have run away" may not work when faced with a stalker.Now, perhaps there are some feminists who offer that line of reasoning. There could be some who do explicitly support Stand Your Ground laws. But I don't see any credible evidence offered to support this notion from Shapiro, just a few premises with no example backing them up, much less any blanket support from feminists -- or victims of domestic violence.
As a counter-example, there is Christy Salters Martin, who was stabbed repeatedly, then shot by her husband, but she managed to survive his attack. Naturally he was given the mandatory minimum sentence, because he was old, or afraid of her, or because he never admitted what he'd done anyway, or what the hell, he's a prayerful domestic abuser.
He suggested, rather, that her injuries were suffered in a struggle, and both he and his ex-wife were responsible: "We stabbed her," he said, later adding, "I didn't attack Christy."Guess that point-blank gunshot was just more struggling eh? Sure. I guess the judge was feeling merciful...toward the abuser.
He called his ex-wife his "hero" and told the judge, just before the sentence was handed down, "I came here with God in my heart, and I'll leave with God in my heart."
ThinkProgress mentions that while Christy had a gun -- they both did -- that didn't protect her like the gun lobby says it will.
“I was shot with my own gun. Just putting a weapon in the woman’s hand is not going to reduce the number of fatalities or gunshot victims that we have,” Christy pointed out. “Too many times, their male counterpart or spouse will be able to overpower them and take that gun away.”So, contrary to the gun lobby's argument about domestic violence victims and feminists needing more guns to make them safer, instead survivors like Christy are testifying in support of stronger background checks. And with good reason, as ThinkProgress reports fewer women are killed by their partners when background checks are required.
The evidence backs up Christy’s point. Abusers who have access to a gun are more than seven times more likely to kill their partners. By some estimations, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations — no matter who technically owns it — increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent. In 2011, 44 percent of the women in this country who were killed with guns were murdered by a current or former intimate partner.
Thanks to current loopholes in federal law, some domestic abusers are still able to get their hands on guns. That’s what Christy and her fellow survivors want to change. They’re holding a press conference on Wednesday to urge Congress to pass stronger background check measures, saying that will help save women’s lives. Indeed, in states already require background checks for all gun sales, 38 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners.