24 Hour Hotline: 908-355-HELP (4357)

Click toTo immediately leave our site, click the ESCAPE button.
Connect With Us

Guns and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and gun violence are alarmingly linked impacting victims across the county. Abusers who own guns are five times more likely to kill their victims and possess more power dynamics allowing them to exert coercive control and other forms of violent abuse. A disproportionate impact exists among communities of color, the LGBTQ+, and those with disabilities, but a lack of reporting makes data scarce. Gun violence is primarily experienced by women with male partners and can be amplified overtime.

Guns and Domestic Violence: The Impact

  • Some 4.5 million women in the U.S. have been threatened with a gun by an intimate partner, and nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner.
  • Nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners.
  • Every month, an average of 57 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.
  • 5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun.

The Link Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings

  • More than half of mass shootings, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member as part of the rampage.
  • Most mass shootings in the US where four or more individuals are killed are related to domestic violence.
  • Shooters killed intimate partners or other family members in at least 54 percent of mass shootings.

What are the solutions?

  • Strengthening state laws prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns and requiring abusers to relinquish guns they already have.
  • Focusing on implementation and enforcement of existing state firearm relinquishment laws by state and local courts and law enforcement agencies.
  • Strengthening the federal background check system to keep guns out of dangerous hands by closing deadly loopholes and addressing deficiencies including fixing the boyfriend loophole.
  • Requiring dealers to notify state or local law enforcement when a domestic abuser or convicted stalker attempts to buy a gun and fails a background check.
  • Funding comprehensive research on the nexus of guns and intimate partner violence.

We endorse the following policy recommendations:

  • Keep guns out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence, stalking, and other interpersonal violence.
  • Eliminate access to automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition.
  • Protect students from the danger of school shootings.
  • Strengthen methods for screening and removing firearms from individuals who pose a significant risk of danger to others.
  • Remove legislative restrictions on gun data collection and sharing.

Visit YWCA USA’s full policy recommendations here.

For more information, reports are available from Everytown, The Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence, and Center for American Progress.