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Guns and domestic violence

Texas residents may want to be aware of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is dedicated to providing education about the domestic violence issues women in America face, such as being 11 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other countries. Non-restrictive gun laws in the United States make it easier for perpetrators of violence against women to obtain guns, but mismanagement of the domestic violence crisis is also cited as a factor. Many mass shootings motivated by domestic violence were perpetrated with legally obtained guns.

While high-profile shootings such as the Sandy Hook massacre come to most people's minds when they think of these events, 300 mass shootings took place in the United States alone by the end of October 2015. These include any shootings with four or more victims and most involved domestic violence situations. The EveryTown research group studies gun violence and advocates for better gun policy. After examining mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2015, the group found that half of the victims were women. In contrast, women account for only 15 percent of all firearm deaths in non-mass shooting scenarios.

Mass shootings often happen in private and follow escalated domestic violence patterns. The perpetrators, who are typically men, commonly abuse their partners and children before a shooting ever occurs. The risk of death in a domestic violence scenario drastically increases when the abusive partner has access to a gun. Two-thirds of women killed by guns in the United States are killed by a romantic partner, fueled by the silent epidemic of domestic violence situations. States that require background checks for gun owners see a nearly 50 percent reduction in death rates among women shot by their partners.

A family law attorney may be able to help victims of domestic abuse or terroristic threatening seek legal protection. Restraining orders and other protective orders can help minimize or eliminate contact between the abuser and the victim. Temporary restraining orders are an immediate option available in many cases of threatening or abuse.

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