Do Guns Make Women's Lives Safer?

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3 Responses

  1. Duval says:

    I’m always slightly puzzled when that 1997 study that found that having a gun in the household increases women’s risk of violent death is cited as a argument that women should not be gun owners. As far as I call tell from the methodology, the study did not distinguish between households where the woman was the primary owner of the gun, and households where a partner was the gun owner. In other words: we know that almost three times as many men own guns as women. And it makes sense that, if there’s a gun in the house, but it’s not yours and you don’t know how to use it, it’s hardly going to be a useful form of protection, even without accounting for the fact that most women would probably be reluctant to shoot a friend or a family member, even in self-defense.

    I think that this is an important distinction to make because, while I am pro-gun control, and I dislike the idea that women are personally responsible for protecting themselves from rape (and should be prepared to use deadly force to do so), I have seen the argument that having a gun in the house increases a woman’s chances of violent death used to shame or intimidate women who do own guns and are trained to use them (in the vein of the argument that goes, “Fighting back against your attacker is simply likely to provoke him to kill you, so don’t bother”). While I don’t think that you’ve taken quite that position in this article, I do think that the point is relevant.

    No individual is responsible for “protecting themselves” from assault, and a person’s willingness or ability to use violence to prevent an assault (including rape) should not be a factor when we decide to prosecute and punish assault. Certainly, men need to be part of the movement to de-normalize rape and prevent sexual assault. Society, the courts, and the police force also need to do more to bring perpetrators who don’t fit the “stranger in the bushes” model to justice, instead of focusing solely on victim’s behavior. But I’m afraid that, in our (important, necessary) fight against victim-blaming, we run the risk of supporting a discourse about women’s weakness and powerlessness.

    When we’re told that women should defend themselves with firearms, we don’t say, “Usually, law enforcement is responsible for deterring and prosecuting crimes, not the victims.” Or, “Firearms are banned in many places where women might be at risk, such as most college campuses.” Or, “Most rapes are committed by people the victim knows, and most people aren’t going to shoot their friends/family members/teachers/doctors, even under threat.” Or, “It is unrealistic to expect all women to put in the time it requires to do firearms training, get a concealed-carry permit, etc, simply to participate in daily life.” Or, “Guns are expensive. Is a poor woman going to be able to afford to buy one and learn to use it?” Or, “Teenage girls are at high risk for sexual assault, but can’t legally own firearms. What are they supposed to do under this plan?”

    Ultimately, the problem with touting guns as a good preventive method for sexual assault is that it ignores the various moral and practical issues with implementation, and it does nothing at all to address the appalling arrest and conviction rates for sexual assault. There is no other crime for which we put the responsibility on the victims to protect themselves, instead of offering law enforcement solutions. If your daily life is risky enough that carrying a gun seems like a necessary safeguard, that in itself is a problem. Your safety should not ever be contingent on your willingness or ability to use deadly force.

  2. Most of the perpetrators of gun violence, if not almost all of them are “prohibited persons” who are not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. The people doing this “research” are being paid by the anti-gun lobby, therefore invalidating these “studies. If you want real numbers, read the FBI crime data for a real Eye-opener. Don’t believe the gun-bàn lobby. Read the Federalist Papers for the reason we have the Bill of Rights and not the “bill of ‘some’rights.”what would YOU rather have if intruders were kicking in YOUR door, a cop on the phone,or the means to defend yourself and your family? That’s an easy one for me to answer without drifting into some left-wing philosophical crap about “poll numbers” and “studies” made by left-wing “educators” with an agenda.

  3. Robert M says:

    I think it actually does make women lives safer. There is a cause of why more women become gun owners. For those who are considering one, I would recommended educating themselves about their needs. We wrote about it recently, here: Maybe someone will find it useful. In the mean time, I am looking for more great articles.
    – Robert M

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