NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety today announced the launch of Singled Out, a new campaign in partnership with Cosmopolitan, exposing how dangerous loopholes in gun laws put single women at risk. As part of the collaboration, the March 2016 issue of Cosmopolitan, hitting newsstands today, includes a comprehensive editorial package called Guns and Relationships, which details the ways gun violence affects single women and includes a conversation guide on how to talk to a partner about guns and gun ownership. Everytown also released a humorous video (viewable here) featuring ‘Gary the Gunsplainer’ – a “gunsplainer” is a riff on “mansplainer,” and someone who victim-blames women for not having a gun to defend herself and condescendingly explains how women would be safer with guns. The Cosmopolitan package also includes a conversation guide on how to respond if you meet a “gunsplainer.” Together, Cosmopolitan’s editorial coverage and Everytown’s video are aimed at empowering women to be informed about guns and how weak laws put them at risk, to hold elected officials accountable for closing the loopholes, and to shut down the falsehoods spread by the gun lobby.
“When I was dating, it never occurred to me to ask a guy if he owned a gun,” said Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, in her March 2016 Editor’s Note. “But given the numbers – more than 8,700 women in the U.S. were shot to death by their partner between 2000 and 2013 – it’s time to discuss what’s in your guy’s drawers, and I don’t mean his CK boxer briefs.”
“I have four daughters who are all young, single women in college and the workplace,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s vitally important that they are informed about the risk gun violence poses in their lives as they’re on campus, dating, or starting their careers – especially given that our gun laws give them less protection than married women. That’s why I’m doing everything in my power to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and off of college campuses.”
Singled Out draws attention to the loopholes in the law that put single women at risk, including:
- The Boyfriend Loophole – allows convicted abusers and abusers under active restraining orders to purchase and keep guns simply because they have not married, had a child with, or lived with the victim. This leaves a gaping loophole for dangerous abusive boyfriends and stalkers to walk right through. Simply because they haven’t been married to or lived with the victim, they can pass a background check and buy a gun.
- The Online Loophole – allows millions of gun sales to take place online without a background check each year. American women are 11 times more likely to die from gun violence than women in comparable countries and background checks are the single most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including convicted felons, domestic abusers, and people with dangerous mental illness. In fact, in the 18 states that require background checks for all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot and killed by intimate partners than the states that do not require background checks.
- Guns on Campus – the campaign also exposes the gun lobby’s attempts to force college campuses to allow guns. Campuses can already be dangerous places for all students, especially women. Binge drinking, substance abuse and depression are already big enough problems for students, and adding guns into the equation puts campus safety at risk. That’s why campus police chiefs, college presidents, faculty, and students themselves—are overwhelmingly opposed to guns on campus.
“Until two of my best friends were shot and killed when we they were sophomores in college, I didn’t understand just how pervasive gun violence is in this country – and how often it affects women specifically,” said Jennifer Gold, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose best friends Carol Kestenbaum and Nicole Schiffman were killed on February 18, 2007 by the ex-boyfriend of Carol’s roommate, while out celebrating Carol’s 20th birthday. “Now, I think it’s really important to be informed and to speak up about issues like this – and I definitely talk to the men I date about guns. Even if it’s an uncomfortable conversation at first, it’s an issue that is important to me and a essential conversation that can save lives.”
For more information on the boyfriend loophole, online loophole, and guns on campus, please check out the Singled Out site.