The National Rifle Association’s executive vice-president, Wayne LaPierre, has argued that firearms are an equalizer between the sexes. In his speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee last year, he said, “The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun.”
But empirical data has always suggested otherwise. Intimate partner violence becomes more frequent—and more lethal—when guns are involved. It is also almost completely unidirectional, inflicted by men upon women. This is true not only in the United States, but around the world.
Higher rates of gun availability correlate with female homicide rates. Women in the United States make up 84 percent of all female firearm victims in the developed world, even though they make up only a third of the developed world’s female population. Within the country, the suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm death rates are higher for women in states where guns are more widely available.
Christy Salters Martin, a professional boxer and the owner of a concealed carry permit, was shot with her own gun when she tried to leave her husband. “Just putting a weapon in the woman’s hand is not going to reduce the number of fatalities or gunshot victims that we have,” she said. “Too many times, their male counterpart or spouse will be able to overpower them and take that gun away.”