It may be an inconvenient truth in a state where so many people value their rights to own a firearm, but easy access to guns make women and children much less safer—in their own homes. The American Journal of Public Health warned that access to firearms increases the likelihood of intimate-partner homicide more than five times compared to situations where there are no guns.
Put another way, while an abuser may choose a knife, a frying pan or their hands to try to kill his or her partner, a gun makes it a whole lot easier to kill, even from a distance.
The facts are there if we'll pay attention: American women killed by husbands or boyfriends are more likely to be killed with guns than all other methods combined, the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association reported. Women are twice as likely to be shot and killed by life partners than they are to be murdered by strangers using any kind of weapon.
Males most often use firearms to murder women, according to the Violence Policy Center of Washington, D.C. Handguns are the weapon of choice in domestic murders over rifles and shotguns.
Studies show that a gun in the home presents more risk to health than benefit. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reported that most gun accidents occur in the home—with about 50 percent being family members under 25—and that a gun in the home is a high indicator of successful suicides (that is, more suicides fail when other methods are used).
The Centers for Disease Control reports that, in 2006 alone, 7,564 persons 24 years old or younger died as a result of gun injury. This, the CDC reported, is equivalent to one Boeing 737 crash every week for a year with no survivors.
With these kind of gun dangers in our midst, what is the answer? That is a tough one in a country that refuses to have a serious dialogue even about banning military-style assault weapons—the kinds that very few people would ever have occasion to use for self-defense (and would likely have caused more deaths in a dark, tear-gassed theater if pulled on a shooter in head-to-toe body armory).
Clearly, there is no immediate compromise regulation in sight on any kind of firearm in the United States. You can't even bring up guns as a public-health issue without getting shouted down and called names (watch the comments under this editorial at jfp.ms to see what we mean).
So, that means it is up to all of us to self-regulate and to have the real facts at hand. We must know the dangers of having easily accessible guns in the home—to our own families and children. It is simply fact that the risk is statistically greater then guns' successful use for self-defense in the home.
Choose wisely, friends. Your loved ones' lives hang in the balance.