SUMTER, S.C. – The South Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement in response to a shooting Tuesday evening in Sumter. According to reports, the shooter shot and killed his three children and his ex-wife’s boyfriend, before taking his own life.
“We are devastated to learn of this horrific tragedy in Sumter,” said Melody McFadden, a volunteer with the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These instances of domestic violence are a tragic reminder there is more to be done to protect women, children, and families in South Carolina and beyond, and it is up to our lawmakers to step up to take action to save lives.”
Gun-related intimate partner violence is a devastating and lethal crisis facing women and families in the United States. Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. In addition, intimate partner mass shootings are not uncommon, though many don’t make headlines.
In more than half of mass shootings, the perpetrator shot an intimate partner or family member. The ripple effects of guns in the hands of an abuser extend far beyond the intimate relationship and children, but also to family members, coworkers, and the law enforcement officers who respond to it. While intimate partner and familial violence involving guns presents a devastating problem, research shows that federal and state policies that disrupt abusers’ access to guns can save lives.
Last month, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a critical, long-standing gun safety law that protects domestic violence victims and keeps guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
South Carolina has the 10th highest rate of gun deaths in the US, with few safeguards in place to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. 17 states, including, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Maryland have already adopted a policy requiring abusers to turn in guns after a conviction, disarming domestic abusers by ensuring they can’t keep weapons they already have at home and continue to do harm. South Carolina has weak firearm laws, scoring only 18 out of 100 for gun law strength while maintaining the sixth-highest rate of gun homicides in the United States.
In an average year, 1,044 people are killed by guns in the state, with a 47% death increase from 2012 to 2021, compared to a 39% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs South Carolina around $14.0 billion each year. More information about gun violence in South Carolina is available here.