Domestic violence survivors are traveling to Capitol Hill this week to make sure that firearms don’t end up in the hands of abusers. Working in conjunction with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, they’re encouraging lawmakers to support comprehensive background checks, a lobbying effort that’s timed to coincide with the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Gender-based violence and gun policies have become particularly entwined lately. Over the past several months, proponents for looser gun laws have argued that women need easy access to guns to protect themselves against abusers and rapists. According to some of the conservatives who oppose gun control, additional regulations on concealed weapons andassault rifles aren’t compatible with feminism. On Tuesday, that line of reasoning made yet another appearance at a Senate hearing about Stand Your Ground laws, as a conservative policy analyst from the Cato Institute suggested that feminists support the policy that allowed George Zimmerman to kill an unarmed teenager.
Christy Salters Martin, a domestic violence survivor who was stabbed and shot by her husband after she attempted to leave him, has a very different perspective on the issue.
“Having a gun isn’t enough,” Christy explained in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Women who fear for their life don’t need a gun — they need to go to their local police department, they need to go a family member, they need to go to the domestic violence shelter in their area where they have some type of protection.”