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Firearms and Domestic Violence

  • Under the Gun Control Act of 1994, federal law prohibits an abuser subject to a qualifying order of protection from possessing firearms and ammunition.  18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8).
  • Under federal law, it is also illegal to sell or transfer firearms or ammunition to a person subject to a qualifying order of protection, or who has been convicted of a misdeamenor crime of domestic violence. 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(8)-(9).
  • In Rhode Island, firearms were used in 25 domestic violence related deaths. RICADV Homicide Project, 2007.
  • Rhode Island domestic violence police incident reports for the year 2004 show that in 455 arrests the suspect was in possession of a firearm. Further, there were 40 reported cases where a defendant of a restraining order was also in possession of a firearm. RICADV Homicide Project, 2007.
  • From 2000-2005, 4,980 men and women were killed by their intimate partners with a fi rearm, making firearms the most common weapon in intimate partner homicides. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2007. Homicide Trends in the United States. United States Department of Justice.
  • A study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health found that an abuser’s access to a firearm increased the risk of intimate partner homicide by eight times. The same study found that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse and cause the most pain. Campbell et al. 2003. “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multisite Case Control Study,” American Journal of Public Health.
  • Nationwide, a 2003 study about the risks of firearms in the home found that females living with a gun in the home were nearly three times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun in the home. Douglas Wiebe. 2003. “Homicide and Suicide Risks Associated with Firearms in the Home: A National Case-Control Study,” Annuals of Emergency Medicine.
  • In the United States, more female homicides were committed with firearms (54%) than with any other weapon, and of those, nearly two-thirds (539 victims) were murdered by male intimates. Violence Policy Center. 2008. “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2006 Homicide Data.”
  • A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that although the United States represents only 32% of the total female population among 25 high-income countries, it accounts for 84% of all female firearm homicides. David Hemenway, et al. 2002. “Firearm Availability and Female Homicide Victimization Rates among 25 Populous High Income Countries,” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association.
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