As contagion containment measures are implemented around the world in response to the COVID-19 virus, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Firearms (the Center) is deeply concerned with the impact that skyrocketing gun and ammunition sales associated with the pandemic will have on survivors of domestic violence.

Research demonstrates that some of the most critical factors in intimate partner homicide (IPH) are loss of employment, fear of family separation and escalation of abusive behavior. Add to this the uncertainty of the future, close-quarters containment of households, and generalized anxiety from the current contagion-containment measures, and the odds are that incidents of domestic violence, including intimate partner homicide, will increase.

Studies have demonstrated that the introduction of a firearm into a home is more likely to result in harm to family or friends than it is to prevent crime. The odds of a lethal event are increased by 500% when a firearm is introduced into a relationship where there is domestic violence. In American households, for every incident where a justifiable shooting takes place, 22 accidental shootings, criminal assaults, homicides, and suicides take place. Combining the potential impulsivity of domestic violence with the physical devastation wrought by gunshots greatly amplifies the lethality risk to domestic violence victims. 

In addition, the mere presence of a firearm in a household frequently leads to coercive control being exerted by abusers on victims. So, the pandemic-motivated introduction of a firearm into a home can have an intimidating and controlling impact on other inhabitants of the home. 

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Firearms is committed to preventing the risk created by firearms in domestic violence situations. This message is intended to remind everyone that firearms introduced into homes where there is domestic violence can lead to tragic unintended consequences to victims and their children.

Victims, concerned family, and friends can reach out to the Center at 800-903-0111 x1 or by email at; to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233; or to Stronghearts Native Helpline at 1-844-762-8483. To all of you in this trying time, stay safe and stay healthy.

Required fields are marked *