This month marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a reminder that lawmakers in South Carolina still need to take action to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Here’s more on domestic violence in South Carolina:
- South Carolina has experienced an increase in domestic violence calls during coronavirus as gun sales continue to surge and social distancing continues. Many domestic violence victims are trapped with abusers who have easy access to guns, and that’s a deadly combination.
- From 2014 to 2018, 111 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in South Carolina. Nationally, women of color are victims of homicide at higher rates than white women, and over 55 percent of these killings are committed by an intimate partner.
- When domestic abusers have access to guns, the effects can be deadly — particularly for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native and Latina women, who experience higher rates of intimate partner violence and gun homicide.
- South Carolina currently has a domestic violence regime that is riddled with loopholes that leave individuals who illegally possess guns under federal law free to do so under South Carolina law. The South Carolina legislature has failed to make its domestic violence prohibitions for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence mandatory, making it nearly impossible for local and state law enforcement to enforce firearms prohibitions and protect women and children.
Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of families and communities across the country. Guns exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by domestic abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims — which is only worsened by conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Access to firearms makes domestic abusers five times more likely to kill their victims. Nationally, every month, 53 women are shot and killed by intimate partners and nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported an increase in traffic between March and May—and predicted a continued increase throughout the end of year. A recent study found that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an 8% increase in domestic violence calls to police in 14 large U.S. cities in the initial 3 months of the pandemic.
This October, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action are honoring survivors and advocating for proven solutions to prevent domestic violence including keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and increasing access to services and trained advocates.
More information about the intersection between domestic violence and gun violence here. More information on gun violence in South Carolina is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. If you’re unable to speak safely via phone, you can chat online at thehotline.org.