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This special collection brings together evidence and insights from nonprofits, foundations, and research organizations working to understand the full impact of firearm use and gun violence in the US. By providing us with analyses of current state and federal laws as well as valuable data on suicides, homicides, accidents, and mass shootings, these organizations seek to inform sound public policy and to curb this ongoing public health epidemic.

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"Gun Violence" by M+R Glasgow licensed under CC 2.0

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When Men Murder Women: A Review of 25 Years of Female Homicide Victimization in the United States

October 1, 2023

In January of 2021, the FBI changed the way crime data are collected and reported, which has impacted the reliability of subsequent data. That year, the FBI retired the SHR system and replaced it with the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). While NIBRS will eventually provide much more comprehensive and robust crime data compared to the SHR, transitioning law enforcement agencies to the new data collection and reporting system has been slow and burdensome. Indeed, many law enforcement agencies did not transition to NIBRS by January of 2021, which has had a significant impact on the reliability of 2021 crime data. After a careful analysis of that year's crime data, the VPC has determined that current NIBRS data are not reliable for state-by-state gun violence research as required by When Men Murder Women.Lacking reliable crime data from 2021, this report will instead focus on trends revealed in previous editions of When Men Murder Women over the past 25 years. Previous years' reports described the age and race of victims, weapons used, the relationship between victim and offender, and circumstance. Prior reports also ranked the states by their rates of females killed by males. This study summarizes the findings of these reports and the patterns and characteristics of these homicides between 1996 and 2020.

The Devastating Toll of Gun Violence on American Women and Girls

September 13, 2023

In many ways, men have historically been the focus of conversations about guns and gun violence in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of gun owners are male. Eighty-six percent of gun deaths in the US involve men, and men are six times more likely to die from gun violence than women.However, gun violence also takes a grueling and devastating toll on women, with women of color experiencing a particularly disproportionate impact. Each year, more than 6,000 women die from gun violence. More than half of these deaths are gun suicides, and women are also heavily impacted by the deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence, which claims hundreds of lives each year. Thousands more women are left in the wake of gun violence's trauma, forced to grieve and recover from the loss of the many sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers who die as a result of gun violence. The toll of gun violence on women in the US is particularly stark when compared to peer nations: compared to women in other high-income countries, US women are 21 times more likely to die from gun violence.It is clear that gun violence is an issue with deep, multi-faceted impacts on women's safety, health, and well-being. Understanding this burden is essential to creating and implementing responsive solutions that will protect women, their families, and their communities.

Beyond Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers

November 1, 2021

In America, firearms are the weapons of choice for domestic violence homicides: In fact, female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a gun than by all other means combined. The lethal connection between firearms and domestic violence calls for immediate action, especially amid national crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic.This updated report, "Beyond the Bullet Wounds: Guns in the Hands of Domestic Abusers," focuses on the intersections of gun violence and both domestic and intimate partner violence. It provides activists, policymakers, community leaders, and more tangible solutions to address the crises of domestic violence and firearms in America. You can expect to read information and stories — sometimes graphic — concerning domestic violence, including sexual abuse, gun violence, and their effects on different communities.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2019 Homicide Data

September 29, 2021

When Men Murder Women is an annual study released by the VPC for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. State by state, the study details the circumstances of all reported homicides of women by men in single-victim/single-offender incidents. The study also ranks the states based on their rate of females killed by males. This research is used by state and local advocates to educate the public and policymakers on the realities of domestic violence and promote effective solutions to protect women and children from abusers.

Guns and Violence Against Women: America’s Uniquely Lethal Intimate Partner Violence Problem

October 17, 2019

Everytown for Gun Safety has compiled scientific research on the impacts of gun violence against women in America. This violence has an impact on families and communities across the United States. This report covers the following topics: creating laws that protect the victim from the abuser, enforcing existing state firearm relinquishment laws, strengthening the federal background check system, requiring dealers to notify state or local law enforcement when abusers try to buy guns with bad background checks, and comprehensive research on guns and intimate partner violence.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2017 Homicide Data

September 1, 2019

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.This study provides a stark reminder that domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination. According to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearms are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes. Instead, they are all too often used to inflict harm on the very people they were intended to protect.

Restricting Access to Firearms Among Individuals at Risk for or Convicted of Domestic Violence or Violent Crime

January 1, 2018

Many states have implemented laws designed to prevent domestic violence perpetrators from acquiring or retaining firearms. Evidence suggests that domestic violence–related prohibited-possessor policies may reduce homicide rates.

Domestic Violence and Guns: The Fact

December 1, 2017

The presence of a firearm in a home with domestic violence can transform abuse into homicide in a fraction of a second. Firearms and domestic violence are a lethal combination – injuring and killing women, children, and bystanders every day in the United States. Contrary to public perception, many women who are murdered are not killed by strangers, but by men they know.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data

September 1, 2017

Intimate partner violence against women is all too common and takes many forms. The most serious is homicide by an intimate partner. Guns can easily turn domestic violence into domestic homicide. One federal study on homicide among intimate partners found that female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined, concluding that "the figures demonstrate the importance of reducing access to firearms in households affected by IPV [intimate partner violence]." Guns are also often used in non-fatal domestic violence. A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed gun use at home and concluded that "hostile gun displays against family members may be more common than gun use in self-defense, and that hostile gun displays are often acts of domestic violence directed against women." The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.A woman must consider the risks of having a gun in her home, whether she is in a domestic violence situation or not. While two thirds of women who own guns acquired them "primarily for protection against crime," the results of a California analysis show that "purchasing a handgun provides no protection against homicide among women and is associated with an increase in their risk for intimate partner homicide." 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. Finally, another study reports, women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide.While this study does not focus solely on domestic violence homicide or guns, it provides a starkreminder that domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination. According to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearms are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes. Instead, they are all too often used to inflict harm on the very people they were intended to protect.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2014 Homicide Data

September 1, 2016

Intimate partner violence against women is all too common and takes many forms. The most serious is homicide by an intimate partner. Guns can easily turn domestic violence into domestic homicide. One federal study on homicide among intimate partners found that female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined, concluding that "the figures demonstrate the importance of reducing access to firearms in households affected by IPV [intimate partner violence]." Guns are also often used in non-fatal domestic violence. A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed gun use at home and concluded that "hostile gun displays against family members may be more common than gun use in self-defense, and that hostile gun displays are often acts of domestic violence directed against women." The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place. A woman must consider the risks of having a gun in her home, whether she is in a domestic violence situation or not. While two-thirds of women who own guns acquired them "primarily for protection against crime," the results of a California analysis show that "purchasing a handgun provides no protection against homicide among women and is associated with an increase in their risk for intimate partner homicide." 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. Finally, another study reports, women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide. While this study does not focus solely on domestic violence homicide or guns, it provides a stark reminder that domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination. According to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearms are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes. Instead, they are all too often used to inflict harm on the very people they were intended to protect.

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data

September 15, 2015

"When Men Murder Women" is an annual report prepared by the Violence Policy Center detailing the reality of homicides committed against females by single male offenders. The study analyzes the most recent Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The information used for this report is for the year 2013. Once again, this is the most recent data available. This is the first analysis of the 2013 data on female homicide victims to offer breakdowns of cases in the 10 states with the highest female victim/male offender homicide rates, and the first to rank the states by these rates. This study examines only those instances involving one female homicide victim and one male offender. This is the exact scenario -- the lone male attacker and the vulnerable woman -- that is often used to promote gun ownership among women.

Statistics & Surveys

Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Address Gun Violence Against Women

October 9, 2014

The vast majority of American gun owners are responsible and abide by the law. However, guns do not belong in the hands of domestic abusers and other people known to violently target women or others in relationships. When an abuser has access to firearms, the victim is 500 percent more likely to be murdered. Unfortunately, the federal laws intended to reduce domestic abusers' access to guns are filled with loopholes. These federal provisions do not apply to many known abusers, and states have sometimes struggled to effectively enforce these laws even when they do apply. The result is a constant stream of news reports about women and others killed by abusers with guns. States must take action to prevent further tragedies. This report provides a series of proposals that state legislators should consider enacting in their states to help protect women and families in abusive situations. These policies go beyond current federal law, but have been proposed in Congress.

Policy Recommendations & Models