Right-wing media reacted to an ad depicting gun-based domestic violence with the dangerous claim that keeping guns in the home would prevent such attacks. In fact, the presence of a firearm in a home where domestic abuse occurs increases the risk a woman will be murdered.
In an ad released on July 29, gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety depicted the harrowing scene of a domestic abuser breaking into his estranged partner's home and shooting her with a gun. The ad was released to bring attention to a July 30 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the relationship between guns and domestic violence. The Senate is currently considering legislation that would prohibit the purchase of firearms by individuals convicted of stalking and expand the definition of intimate partner violence “to include a dating partner.”
Conservative media reacted to the ad by calling it a "mistake" and claiming that it "inadvertently proves why women need guns." Calling firearms “a great equalizer between men and women,” National Review Online's Charles C.W. Cooke claimed that “the victim [in the ad] would have been better off with a gun in her hand than with a phone connected to the police department” and charged Everytown with supporting firearms policies that “put vulnerable people in danger.” Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich wrote of the domestic violence scene shown in the ad: “All of this could have been prevented if the woman had a firearm in her possession as soon as she saw her ex-husband pounding on the door.”
These claims are untrue. A recent peer-reviewed meta-analysis “found that women with access to firearms become homicide victims at significantly higher rates than men,” according to The Atlantic. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Public Health found that women in the U.S. are killed by intimate partners "more often than by any other type of perpetrator," and access to a gun significantly increased that risk.
Furthermore, the Everytown ad highlights the undeniable interplay between guns and intimate partner violence. According to a recent survey published by The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 22 percent of individuals who contacted the hotline reported that an abusive partner “had threatened to use their firearm to hurt themselves, their intimate partner, their children, family members, friends and even pets with a firearm.” Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be killed with a gun compared to women who live in other developed countries. The Center for American Progress reports that “From 2001 through 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun -- more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.”