Many people think about gun control in the United States as an issue of legislation, having only to do with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This line of thinking asserts that gun control affects everyone equally. Like many political and legislative issues, however, gun control affects women far more than it does men. Until such time as every person on the planet is safe from every other person that is bigger and stronger than they are, women will be more profoundly affected by issues related to violence.
April 17th, 2013, was a sad day for 90% of Americans, when the U. S. Senate voted down proposed gun control measures. These additional background checks would not have been a ban on guns by any means. When a gun is purchased from a licensed dealer, a background check is already performed. This new legislation would have required a background check for purchases made online and at gun shows.
Whatever your stance is on gun control, the scariest part of this is that the Senate went completely against the wishes of the people they represent. Even if you were personally against the bill, you have to stop and consider what this means for you as a citizen of the United States. Your elected officials are not listening to you.
Of course, this comes as little surprise to women in the U.S. American women have been running headlong into that particular wall for some time now. Nearly 700 new pieces of legislation were put forth in the first quarter of 2013 to try to control, restrict and inhibit women’s reproductive rights, many going against Constitutional law.
Here’s where gun control becomes a feminist issue: To start, the government listens even less often to its female constituents than it does to its male constituents. Whatever opinion women may have about this issue, it’s not going to be heard in the first place.
The second big reason gun control is a feminist issue is because of the domestic violence statistics associated with firearms. Women are 500% more likely to die from a domestic violence situation in a home where there is a firearm. According to the Violence Policy Center, “A 1976 to 1987 analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation data revealed that more than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husbands or intimate acquaintances than were murdered by strangers using firearms, knives, or any other means.” This same site lists numerous statistics and studies, including the fact that half of the women who were victims of homicide in 2000, where the weapon was known, were killed by firearms.
These statistics are not hidden in some dark little hole where no one can find them. These statistics are readily available from a massive number of sites just by using a search engine and typing in the search string “domestic violence firearm.” The statistics are backed up by numerous academic and government studies, as well as studies done by law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. What it boils down to is very simple: Women get killed in domestic situations by firearms far more often than men do. There’s no getting around it.
There is legislation to acknowledge the disparity with regard to gun control and domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban is meant to keep firearms out of the hands of those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. Basically, if you’ve been convicted of any form of domestic violence, you cannot legally own a firearm. This might seem like a great thing, but with the current state of legislation on gun control measures in the U. S., this ban is extremely easy to get around. The very measure that 90% of Americans were hoping would pass on April 17th would have made a significant contribution to enforcing the DVOGB. By making sure that all gun sales were subject to criminal background checks, the people who are banned from owning firearms would not be able to simply buy their guns from Craigslist or gun shows.
So seeing as gun control really is feminist issue, it’s time we had a little talk about it. When you read the information on firearm homicides, if you’re a woman, you have to be saying to yourself, “This applies even more so to me,” because is really does. You have to be thinking that it’s the same people who want women to be nothing more than life-support systems for breeding machines that are telling you that your personal domestic situation is of no importance to them.
Now, we need to address one issue here that has been raised time and time again. People who are against further legislation for gun ownership will happily tell you that making something illegal does not stop people from doing it. The fact is, even if guns were banned globally, we would never be rid of them entirely. The mechanics of gunsmithing follow some pretty basic principles. In other words, it’s not that hard to make your own gun and ammo if you’re desperate enough.
Here are some hard facts on the effectiveness of gun control measures: We’re going to compare Canada with the United States. First, it should be pointed out that Canada does not ban a lot of guns. The Bushmaster used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School is legal in Canada. Handguns are legal, too. They are, however, severely restricted, and getting a concealed carrying permit is almost unheard of unless you’re law enforcement, military or a Brink’s employee that is actually doing cash transports.
We’re going to look at two very simple statistics. First we’ll look at firearm-related homicides, and then we’ll take a look at rates of violence. The numbers are going to surprise you. Bear in mind, these statistics are based on per capita numbers, and not gross population, so the numbers have already been adjusted for fairness. For every 100,000 people in Canada 2.13 people are killed by firearm, 0.50 of which are homicide-related. In the United States that number goes up to 10.2, and of those 3.2 are homicides. This means that of the total population, in Canada firearm-related homicides happen to 0.0005%, while in the U.S. 0.0032% of the population will be murdered with a firearm. The firearm homicide rate in the United States is more than six times higher, per capita, than is it in Canada. [Note, the statistics for Canada are taken from 2011 data, while the statistics for the United States are taken from 2010 data.]
Now, you might be under the impression that Americans are simply more violent than Canadians. Not so! The assault rate in Canada is almost identical to that in the U.S. Out of every thousand people in Canada, 7.1 people become the victims of assault, and in the United States it’s 7.6 people.
Another argument given regarding gun control and firearm homicide statistics, is that it is happening within extremely crowded, urban areas, and that those living conditions are what cause such alarming statistics. So, for the sake of honesty and thoroughness, we need to ask ourselves if there is any truth to that statement. In 2011, Chicago, with a population of over 2.7 million people, had a murder rate of 15.9 people per hundred thousand population. In that same year Atlanta, with a population of only 425,533, had a murder rate of 20.7 per hundred thousand people. New Orleans, also in 2011 and with 346,974 people, had a murder rate of 57.6 Infer what you will, but it does not look as though population has a great deal to do with it.
People are not being asked to give up their guns. Nobody is coming to your house to yank your manky old rifle out of your cold dead hands, no matter how many times you tell someone that’s what they’re going to have to do. The only thing anyone is looking to do is to try to inject some common sense into preventing violence. If someone is doing something that works, then maybe it’s worth taking at look at how they’re doing it. It doesn’t hurt to try something on for size for a while, and see how it fits. If it doesn’t, you take it off and try something else on.
We live in a time when fully automatic guns can spray bullets at a rate of 800 to 900 rounds per minute, although that is severely limited by the capacity of the magazine. Semi-automatics are physically capable of firing at the same speed, but their firing rate is limited by the speed with which a human being can pull a trigger – a somewhat slower rate, to be sure.
We no longer live in a time when the most highly-trained marksmen could fire four rounds per minute. So we are required to keep up with our technology. Two hundred years ago we did not have laws banning child pornography on the Internet. It wasn’t because there wasn’t any exploitation of minors going on at that time, because there certainly was. It was because there was no Internet. Two hundred years ago we had murder, too, but we did not have fully-automatic rifles with astronomical firing rates and high-capacity magazines.
The final point that needs to be addressed is the constant cry of those saying the amendments to the U.S. Constitution should be inviolate, and that the forefathers never meant for the Constitution to be changed. If you’re one of those people, it’s time for you to buy a dictionary. The word amendment means change.