Women And Guns: New Ad And Research Show How Weak Gun Laws Turn Domestic Abuse Into Murder

Apr 03, 2013, 16:39 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Center for American Progress to Host Events Across The Country Today on Role of Guns in Violence Against Women and New CAP Report

Gun Owner and NRA Member Elvin Daniel's Sister Zina Killed By Estranged Husband Who Purchased a Gun Online Without a Background Check; www.DemandAction.org

NEW YORK, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns continues its push for commonsense gun law reforms today with a new ad and research highlighting the disturbing link between violence against women and guns.  The ad features Elvin Daniel, a gun owner and NRA member whose sister Zina Daniel was murdered in the Brookfield, Wisconsin, spa shooting in October 2012.  Several days after she obtained a restraining order against her violent estranged husband – which made him a prohibited purchaser – he bought a semiautomatic handgun from a private online seller without a background check, which he used the next day to murder her and two other people.  If Zina and her husband lived in nearby Michigan, where a background check is required for every handgun sale, she and the other victims might still be alive today.  In fact, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has found that in states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.  The ad can be viewed here: www.demandaction.org/elvin.

"Zina's story is a powerful reminder of how our country's broken gun laws – including the private sale loophole – contribute to the epidemic of gun violence and violence against women," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "The vast majority of Americans support comprehensive and enforceable background checks – including gun owners like Elvin.  And we need to make sure their voices are heard in Washington in the days and weeks ahead as Congress debates critically important gun safety legislation."

"We are grateful to Elvin Daniel for telling his sister's story and for fighting for sensible reforms that will prevent more senseless violence," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The numbers don't lie – think of all of the mothers, daughters, sisters and friends whose lives could have been saved if background checks were required for all gun sales. It's time for Washington to take action."

The ad will air over the next week nationally and in Washington, D.C. and in states represented by both Democrats and Republicans – where they can most influence the upcoming Senate vote including Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The coalition also released a new fact sheet and infographic on how violence against women is directly related to weak gun laws and how requiring a background check for every gun sale will save women's lives, including the following facts:

  • Women in the U.S. are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. 
  • Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U.S. have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined.
  • The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. 
  • Of women murdered with guns in the U.S. in 2010, more than half (54 percent) were killed by intimate partners or family members.  Of the women murdered with guns in 2010 where the relationship to the offender was known, 64 percent were shot to death by a current or former intimate partner.
  • An analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that a majority (57 percent) of mass shootings involves incidents of domestic violence.
  • Background checks have already prevented more than 250,000 gun sales to domestic abusers.
  • The organization also found that in states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.

While lawmakers are home during recess, the bipartisan coalition – along with the Center for American Progress in some states – is also hosting events across the country today featuring mayors, faith leaders, moms, law enforcement officials, gun violence survivors and family members of victims who will speak out about the need for comprehensive and enforceable background checks.  Events will take place in Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.  A full list of events is available here.

The Center for American Progress also released a report today examining how each of the 50 states fare across ten key gun violence indicators, such as firearm deaths among children, firearm homicides among women, and law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm, among others.  The report finds a clear link between high levels of gun violence and weak state gun laws. Across the key indicators of gun violence that were analyzed, the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have an aggregate level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher, in fact—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.

Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check,[1] and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer.[2] This loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns – including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.

Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives.  For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:

  • Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.[3]
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.[4]
  • In 2011, of states with sufficient data, those that required background checks for all handgun sales had 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated assaults, controlling for population.[5]

Recent polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent.  The findings of these surveys can be found here.  These findings are in line with recent independent polls that have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all buyers.   Previous polling by Republican Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members – support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org

Erika Soto Lamb: esotolamb@rabengroup.com or 646-580-5281
Alex Katz: akatz1@cityhall.nyc.gov or 617-721-3779

Contact: Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office (212) 788-2958
Mayor Menino's Press Office (617) 635-4461

[1] Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, Guns in America, 1996, available at http://www.policefoundation.org/pdf/GunsinAmerica.pdf. 2,568 individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and asked how they obtained their firearms.

[2] In the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between November 2011 and November 2012, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI data. Available: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130205_1998_2013_state_program_to_date_purpose_ids.pdf

[3] Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].

[5] Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, 2011. An aggravated assault is an unlawful attack with the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury and using a weapon or means of inflicting severe harm, including assaults or attempts to kill or murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem.  Law enforcement agencies in 46 states and DC submitted sufficient data for analysis — NY, IL, HI, and MS did not. 

SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns