PHOENIX, Ariz. — Everytown for Gun Safety and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) today released a new report, “A Census of Domestic Violence Gun Homicides in Arizona” (available here) revealing that 62 percent of women killed by intimate partners in Arizona were shot to death, and the rate of intimate partner gun homicides in Arizona is 45 percent higher than the national average. The new research – the first of its kind for the state – indicates that intimate partner homicides in Arizona are, to a significant degree, a problem of gun violence.
“Our research uncovers the true extent of the deadly impact that domestic violence has on our communities and it proves that Arizona needs an improved approach when it comes to addressing the threat of domestic gun violence,” said Allie Bones, chief executive officer (CEO) of ACESDV. “As a state, we need to confront our alarming record of fatal domestic violence by taking meaningful action to protect Arizona’s most vulnerable and save as many lives as possible.”
“Leading up to many of these shootings there were indications that the shooters posed a risk to their partners: one in seven shooters was federally prohibited from buying and possessing firearms, but many likely had guns as a result of loopholes in Arizona law,” said Ted Alcorn, research director for Everytown. “Every instance of domestic gun violence is devastating to the families and communities involved, but these deaths are not inevitable. We know that domestic gun violence can be reduced by supporting stronger gun laws that help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.”
In total, research identified 105 homicides in Arizona between 2009 and 2013 in which someone was murdered with a firearm by a current or former intimate partner. Because perpetrators often shot additional victims – and more than half killed themselves at the end of the incident – there were a total of 191 shooting deaths.
The new report comes on the heels of the Arizona state legislature’s defeat of several dangerous gun bills during the 2015 legislative session, which closed early last month. Some of the bills that failed in the legislature include a bill that would have allowed out-of-state interest groups to sue law enforcement for attempting to enforce local gun laws; one that purported to nullify federal gun laws as they apply to Arizona; and a bill that would have forced government buildings to allow guns or use taxpayer money to pay for enhanced security. Despite these important victories for public safety, the legislature continues to overlook the connection between weak gun laws and fatal intimate partner gun violence.
- Arizona has an elevated rate of domestic gun violence – 45 percent above the national average. And rates of domestic gun violence in Coconino, Mohave, and Yavapai counties are double the state average.
- A total of 191 people died in the cases examined: in addition to killing their current or former intimate partner, perpetrators also shot 32 other victims – neighbors, friends, and family members – killing 25 of them, including 11 children.
- There were ample indications that the perpetrators posed a risk to their partner. One in seven shooters (13 percent) was prohibited from possessing firearms due to their criminal history or an active order of protection.
- Offenders under an active order of protection were rarely required to turn in their firearms. Of the perpetrators identified in this census that were under an active order of protection, only one in six of the active orders of protection included a requirement that the shooter turn in his firearms.
These findings suggest Arizona should enact the following laws:
- Require background checks on all gun sales;
- Prohibit all people convicted of domestic violence or currently subject to a final order of protection from possessing guns; and
- Ensure that all domestic abusers who become prohibited from possessing guns turn in the guns they already own.
Additional Information About Domestic Gun Violence:
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be shot and killed.
- In states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are 46 percent fewer women shot to death by intimate partners.
- States that restrict access to firearms by people under domestic violence protective orders see a 25 percent reduction in intimate partner gun deaths.