There are many, many, many reasons that the Senate’s vote against basic measures increasing gun control is shameful. I can’t even get into them here. For a starter, read Gabrielle Gifford’s NYT’s Op-Ed. But it’s worthwhile to deconstruct the myth that guns would somehow make women safer (let’s ask Gaby Giffords about that one).
In sum, it’s not true. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine concluded that having a gun in the home makes women significantly more likely to be a victim of gun violence that to benefit from gun self-defense. The American Journal of Public Health found that a gun in the home is a risk factor for femicide from intimate partners. The Annals of Emergency Medicine found that having a gun in the home made women three times more likely to be murdered than women in homes without access to a gun. And the redundant academic research like this goes on and on.
The Washington Post outlines the arguments proposed by Gayle Trotter of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum for the ways that increased background checks and limits on the types of firearms and magazine sizes would decrease women’s ability to protect themselves. She presents an anecdote of a mother who was able to protect herself and her young child against intruders, killing one of the intruders. However, as the WP points out, nothing in the gun control proposals would limit the woman in this example. She would have passed strict background check standards and she had a standard firearm. But Trotter claims that having a bigger, scarier gun (the ladies’ choice – an AR-15) would give women the confidence to defend themselves against intruders. She says, “The peace of mind that a woman has as she’s facing three, four, five violent attackers . . . knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened violent criminals.” Want to know what else would give me confidence against intruders? If they weren’t able to get guns themselves because of effective gun control.
And as this public debate continues, let’s all try to remember that the National Rifle Association, arguably the singular reason the basic gun control provisions did not pass, is truly a gun manufacturer’s lobby and not actually a gun owner’s lobby. They’re not on any person’s side, and especially not women.