After multiple reports of physical abuse came out against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the National Rifle Association’s media arm, NRATV, used the reports to falsely claim the solution to violence against women is more gun ownership. In reality, the presence of firearms in households where there is domestic violence drastically increases the likelihood that women who live there will be killed or injured.
A May 7 New Yorker article reported that four women say Schneiderman committed “nonconsensual physical violence” against them. According to the article, he “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent,” as well as choked them. Just hours after the story broke, Schneiderman announced his resignation.
NRATV wasted no time using Schneiderman’s reported abuse of women as a pretext to slam gun regulation and push for female gun ownership as a means of defense against sexual assault and domestic violence. During the May 8 edition of her NRATV show Relentless, NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch claimed that Schneiderman’s views on gun regulation were motivated by his abusive behavior, saying, “Let’s not forget that Schneiderman just hates lawful gun ownership. Hearing these stories about him it’s no wonder why. The last thing human filth like this would want is for a woman to be in a position to defend herself.”
The next day on NRATV’s news show Stinchfield, Loesch said that it was “fitting that Eric Schneiderman is also anti-gun because predators such as men like him, they don’t like for their victims to be armed” and claimed that abusers are usually “far-left individuals who want women to remain victims and are absolutely aghast when women speak about their right to defend themselves”:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): I am tired of using the word hypocrisy over and over again for just about everything the left does, but once again here we are. I don’t know how else to describe it.
DANA LOESCH: Well, it seems fitting that Eric Schneiderman is also anti-gun because predators such as men like him, they don’t like for their victims to be armed.
People like Eric Schneiderman and Harvey Weinsteins of the world -- he apparently was the Harvey Weinstein of New York politics -- these individuals, more often than not, they are far-left individuals who want women to remain victims and are absolutely aghast when women speak about their right to defend themselves or do anything else that would be in anyway considered self-empowerment. So I’m not surprised. I think hypocrites should feel the double force of the law, personally.
In actuality, there is a mountain of evidence that the presence of a firearm makes domestic violence situations more dangerous. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, “The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.” One study found that among women living in the United States, “about 4.5 million have had an intimate partner threaten them with a gun and nearly 1 million have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner.” Another study that interviewed women at women’s shelters found that 71 percent of women who reported living in a household with a firearm had been attacked or threatened with a gun, but only 7 percent had successfully used a gun in self-defense. In fact, a September 2013 Violence Policy Center study titled “When Men Murder Women” found that women were more than three times more likely to be murdered when there was a gun in their household.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.” On average, three or more women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends every day. And one in four women have been the victim of severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime -- that's roughly 40 million women. The issue also disproportionately impacts women of color.
While the NRA continues to dangerously advocate for greater firearm ownership as a solution to violence against women, it has also historically fought efforts to strengthen laws to keep domestic abusers from accessing guns. The group also spent more than $30 million in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign and stood by him when a tape emerged of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. The organization used its NRATV platform to shill for Trump while accusations of sexual misconduct mounted against him, including pushing the claim that such reports were getting too much attention in the press.