Do Gun Policies Really Protect Women? A Cross-national Test of the Relationship between Gun Regulations and Female Homicide Victimization

  • Janet Stamatel University of Kentucky
  • Kathleen Ratajczak University of Kentucky
  • Robert Hoekstra University of Kentucky
Keywords: firearm, gun, domestic violence, homicide, law


Globally, firearms are the most frequent means of committing homicide with young males most likely to be victimized with guns. However, within the context of intimate partner violence and family violence, females’ risk of lethal gun violence rises significantly, supporting the need to pay more attention to firearms to reduce lethal VAW. One way to protect women from firearm violence within the private sphere is to regulate access to guns based on the risk of family violence. This study examines the extent to which gun availability and gun regulations affect lethal violence against women in a relatively large sample of countries, controlling for established structural predictors of macro-level homicide rates. We find that the civilian gun ownership rate is positively related to lethal VAW. However, background checks do not have a direct effect on female homicide rates, although domestic violence background checks are significant under certain conditions.



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