The rationale of giving guns to women in domestic violence situations is way off base. He wants violence to meet violence in an escalating manner. Instead of fists or arm-twisting, he wants to substitute bullets. There are only two scenarios here. She gets a gun and tells him to stay away because she has one. Whereupon he makes sure he has a gun. Can't you just imagine his line: "I shot her in self defense!" Or, she doesn't tell him she has a gun and takes up the endless, hopeless task of protecting herself 24-7. In general, the argument for having a gun for self defense is pretty silly if you understand that the element of surprise is about 100 percent effective in close, armed conflict. In essence, if someone with a gun wants to kill you, it really does not matter how many guns you have. The real question is will you have one ready when taken by surprise?
Domestic violence is a serious issue that requires serious responses from the community. Escalation in the level of violence or even the threat of it will not stop someone intent on abuse. Guns are not the answer or even part of the solution.
To GRNC, we say the sickness of gun worship contributes to a violent society and makes us a point of ridicule outside America's borders. About 80 Americans die by gunshot every day; all too many of them are domestic violence victims.
A failed approach
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence would like to clarify the record in light of quotes taken out of context by Grass Roots NC (Back Talk, July 6). In 2003, NCCADV worked to pass the Homicide Prevention Act in spite of opposition from GRNC. This law requires judges to order the surrender of firearms by abusers in high-risk cases of domestic violence. Data collected by NCCADV suggests that this law is working. Domestic violence homicides committed with firearms declined from 69 percent in 2003 to 56 percent in 2004.
Studies clearly indicate that firearms and domestic violence are a deadly combination. According to "The HELP Network Information Update: Guns and Domestic Violence" (2003), citing studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, if there is a gun in her home, a woman is 5.4 to 7.2 times more likely to be the victim of an intimate partner homicide. If there is a history of domestic violence, she is 14.6 times more likely to be a homicide victim. And women have a much higher risk of being fatally shot than men when there is a firearm in the home.
The HELP Network further states that the firearm industry has encouraged women to purchase firearms for self-protection. This is not the answer and does not "empower" victims. Citing the Violence Policy Center, in 1998, for every time a woman used a handgun to kill an intimate partner in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate partner with a handgun. "This data suggests that those who urge women to arm themselves are, in effect, suggesting behavior that will increase their risk of dying," concludes the HELP Network. Clearly, guns in the home is a "failed approach," and we need to broaden our efforts to include prevention work, as well as helping individual victims, as my original quote conveyed.
Public Policy Specialist, NCCADV
The Indies Arts Award profile of Designbox (July 13) misstated the launch date of the design collaborative; it was founded in February 2003 by Aly Khalifa, Beth Khalifa, Chris Eselgroth, Paul Friedrich, J.P. Reuer and others. The recent charette mentioned in the article took place at Meymandi Hall in the Raleigh Convention Center. Also, John Lambert, founder of Classical Voice of North Carolina, took graduate courses at North Carolina State University.