For anti-gun people, they’ll find every link they can to make guns seem terrifying. They’ll try to lump gun owners with any group imaginable, including terrorists, to score a cheap political point.
But sometimes, we don’t do ourselves any favors.
Pro-gun rights advocates have a tendency to blow off any discussion of “gun violence” out of hand, up to and including objecting to the very term. I get why people do that, but I don’t think it’s productive.
What we need to do is acknowledge facts where they exist. Take, for example, the link that’s been found between those who commit domestic violence and those who commit gun violence. After all, the anti-gunners will.
It happened again. Last Friday, yet another mass shooting occurred — this time in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter, Gary Martin, took the lives of five people at the warehouse he worked at just minutes after being fired. He was killed by police during the shootout.
The shooting comes as no surprise to a country that has yet to really confront the issue of gun violence. This was already the 39th mass shooting — where four or more people are shot or killed in a single event excluding the shooter — of 2019 in the United States, out of 43 days.
But [the killer] had something in common with perpetrators of other mass shootings that cannot be ignored: a history of domestic violence.
The shooter was known to be abusive to his girlfriend — he would kick and beat her frequently, and once hit her with a baseball bat and stabbed her with a knife. In addition to the felony conviction he received for the abuse, he was arrested six other times in other incidents.
Mass shootings are often perpetrated by those with a history of domestic violence. The Parkland shooter … was reported to police several times for domestic disturbances, including physically assaulting his mother.
The Pulse nightclub shooter … beat his wife. The Las Vegas shooter … frequently verbally harassed his girlfriend in Starbucks. In 54 percent of the mass shootings that occurred between 2009 to 2016, shooters killed their partners or family members, according to Everytown for Gun Safety’s website.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to suggest domestic violence plays a role in mass shootings, people have yet to acknowledge it as a major issue in the gun control debate.
While she uses Everytown for Gun Safety’s website, they’re not alone in finding such a link.
Other studies have found that domestic violence is the closest thing we’ve found to a universal marker for mass shooters. To be sure, not everyone who engages in domestic violence becomes mass shooters, but it seems that almost all mass shooters are reportedly perpetrators of domestic violence.
This is something I think we would be well advised to acknowledge and discuss.
We can try and dismiss the studies all we want–and bad studies should always be debunked–but if the link is found over and over, dismissing it out of hand would be stupid.
However, though we can acknowledge that just because such a link exists, it’s not a reason to disarm innocent people. The problem was that none of these men were ever convicted of a crime.
It seems to me that the enforcement of domestic violence laws makes much more sense than disarming people with no such history, for one thing. However, that also needs to be balanced with due process.
Honestly, it’s complicated, but we must at least acknowledge this link and do what we can within our pro-Second Amendment framework to combat it. Personally, if the Pulse shooter’s wife or Parkland killer’s mom had pulled their own trigger during their abuse, they’d have not only been justified–both were in Florida, after all, a Stand Your Ground state–but would have saved numerous lives in the process.
Maybe that’s the tact we should take?