Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Firearms in the Home Make DV Murder More Likely

The Federal Way Mirror reports on a study from the New England Journal of Medicine that found that having a gun in your home makes it three times more likely that you or someone you care about will be murdered by a family member or partner.

Another study published in the Journal of Family Psychology shows a higher likelihood for children to experience behavior problems once they have witnessed firearm-related domestic violence. One East Coast state, however, did consider enacting legislation that would make it easier for domestic violence victims to obtain firearms — only to face denunciation from domestic violence victim advocacy groups that instead support stronger legislation against gun ownership for abusers and from various police agencies that were not eager to have more weapons being introduced into volatile situations that often require police intervention.

The position in a Sept. 11 Federal Way Mirror column by Mark Knapp — that since laws designed to reduce the frequency and severity of domestic violence crimes don't always work, and that potential crime victims should be trained in the use of firearms (and encouraged to get firearms by government attorneys) so that these potential victims can enact vigilante justice — is sending the wrong message to our community. This is not an issue of the proper exercise of a Second Amendment right. This is an issue of the responsible exercise of a Second Amendment right. Study after study shows introducing more firearms (by a perpetrator or a victim) into a domestic violence situation normally results in an escalation of that violence.

Many people we talk to at community education events say that if they were ever in an abusive relationship, they would get their own gun and fight back. These studies prove what a bad idea that can be. Instead of introducing more guns into homes where violence is taking place, we should support the enforcement of the guns laws we have in place to remove guns from batterers' reach entirely.

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