When Men Murder Women - Why does the NRA want such data Suppressed?
In 2002, there were 1,880 females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents that were submitted to the FBI for its Supplementary Homicide Report.11 These key findings from the report, expanded upon in the following sections, dispel many of the myths propounded by the gun lobby regarding the nature of lethal violence against women:
o More than nine times as many females were murdered by a male they knew (1,587 victims) than were killed by male strangers (168 victims).
o For victims who knew their offenders, 61 percent (963) of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.12
o There were 287 women shot and killed by either their husband or intimate acquaintance during the course of an argument.
o Nationwide, more female homicides were committed with firearms (54 percent) than with any other weapon. Knives and other cutting instruments accounted for 19 percent of all female murders, bodily force15 percent, and murder by blunt object 7 percent. Of the homicides committed with firearms, 73 percent were committed with handguns.
o In 89 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, homicides were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.
Gun use does not need to result in a fatality to involve domestic violence. A
2000 study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed gun use at home
and concluded that “hostile gun displays against family members may be more
common than gun use in self-defense, and that hostile gun displays are often acts of
domestic violence directed against women.”3
The Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.4
As seems usual with any gun crime data, it is old. This report is from 2004. Because of Gun Lobby efforts, any research into firearms and crime is limited.
The N.R.A. hasn’t been winning only because it’s persistent to the point of fanaticism or because it has a powerful political organization. It also wins because it has a strong argumentative advantage in the political debate about gun control.
It has been able to neutralize empirical cases for control. In contrast to the debate over global warming, opponents of gun control aren’t easily cast as scientific know-nothings. On the contrary, they often plausibly present themselves as tough-minded empiricists offering facts to counter liberal emoting.
They can do this because — amazingly — there is no current scientific consensus about guns and violence. The most thorough and authoritative analysis is the 2004 report by a panel of leading experts, “Firearms and Violence,” sponsored by the National Research Council. Its startling conclusion was that we simply don’t know enough to make scientifically grounded judgments about which approaches — from gun-control measures to permission-to-carry laws — are likely to work. The panel’s primary recommendation was simply: “If policy makers are to have a solid empirical and research base for decisions about firearms and violence, the federal government needs to support a systematic program of data collection and research that specifically addresses that issue.” Or, as an expert quoted in the Times article on the report said, “The main thrust of it is, we don’t know anything about anything, and more research is needed.”
The Senate later restored the money but designated it for research on traumatic brain injury. Language was also inserted into the centers’ appropriations bill that remains in place today: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
The prohibition is striking, firearms researchers say, because there are already regulations that bar the use of C.D.C. money for lobbying for or against legislation. No other field of inquiry is singled out in this way.