Federal Domestic Violence Firearm Law
Over one-third of Americans have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes – more than 80 million people1. While most survive these traumatic events, far too many tragically do not. States do not use standardized definitions of intimate partner and domestic violence homicide and are not required to report these statistics to the federal government. However, an analysis of the 2013 FBI Supplemental Homicide Reports found that approximately 1,270 intimate partner homicides were recorded in the FBI’s database2. Although this estimate under-counts the true number of intimate partner homicides committed each year and does not account for domestic violence homicides perpetrated by someone other than an intimate, it does highlight the disturbing public health crisis this nation faces each day.
Firearms play a central role in this crisis. A 2014 survey conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found that, “abusers invoke the mere presence of a firearm to control and terrorize their victims” and will threaten to use such firearm “to hurt the victim, their children, other family members, friends, household pets or to commit suicide.”3 The presence of a firearm results in more than threats: they increase the likelihood that domestic violence will escalate into a homicide by fivefold4. Research suggests that nearly half of all intimate partner and domestic violence homicides are committed using a firearm5.