New Women's Network Seeks to End Gun Violence in the Home

18 June 2009

For a growing number of women around the world, the greatest risk from guns is not on the streets or the battlefield, but in their own homes - and most of the deaths are caused by a close acquaintance.

Firearms licensing has already been integrated into domestic violence laws in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago - with impressive results. Canada tightened its gun laws in 1995, and by 2003 the gun murder rate dropped by 15 percent overall and by 40 percent for women. Australia, which overhauled its gun laws in 1996, saw a 45 percent drop in the murder of women within five years.

"If you have a previous record of violence, you simply should not be allowed to own or possess a gun," said Sarah Masters, who coordinates the IANSA Women's Network. "It is shocking that only four countries have taken action to reduce gun deaths in the home."

The global nature of the crisis is reflected in the new network, which includes top researchers in Serbia, community advocates in Namibia, and disarmament specialists in Canada. Together, they are demanding that spouses and partners are consulted before a gun license is granted, to ensure that men with a history of domestic abuse are denied access to firearms or have their licenses revoked.

The Advocacy Project