Christy Salters Martin is a professional boxer and the owner of a concealed carry permit. But when she attempted to leave her husband, she was shot with her own gun. Today, she cautions other women against making the same mistake. “Just putting a weapon in the woman’s hand is not going to reduce the number of fatalities or gunshot victims that we have. Too many times, their male counterpart or spouse will be able to overpower them and take that gun away.”
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association, has argued that firearms are a great equalizer between the sexes. In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee last year, he declared, “The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun.” But the empirical reality of firearm ownership reflects anything but equality, particularly when it comes to intimate partner violence. Such fights become much more frequent and lethal when firearms are involved, and the violence is nearly unidirectional, inflicted by males upon females. This relationship holds true not only across the United States, but around the world.
A recent meta-analysis concluded what many people already knew: the availability of firearms is a strong risk factor for both homicide and suicide. But the study came to another conclusion that is rarely mentioned in the gun control debate: females are uniquely impacted by the availability of a firearm. Indeed, the study found that women with access to firearms become homicide victims at significantly higher rates than men.