Even as the nation mourned the death of Rev. Kenneth Walker, killed in Phoenix with a .357-caliber gun owned by fellow priest Rev. Joseph Terra, a similar event occurred on the Fourth of July. In suburban Houston, minister Donald Frazier was killed with his own weapon during a botched robbery attempt at his home. During a struggle, deputies said the intruder managed to grab Frazier’s gun and shoot him with it. The suspect, Daniel Durham, was apprehended. Neighbors said they thought the gunshots were fireworks.
Studies from Emory University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center have shown that a gun in the home is many times more likely to be used in criminal assaults or homicides, accidental shootings and suicides than for self-defense. And news reports prove those macabre findings with chilling regularity.
This week New Jersey resident Stephen McMahon perished from an altercation outside his home in which he was shot with his own gun. In March, Katie Brant of Mount Lookout, West Virginia was shot with her own gun outside her home. She was standing on her front porch “when she was grabbed from behind” said news reports and “the man gained control of the pistol.”
Last fall, a woman in Hillview, KY was also shot with her own gun by an intruder. She “grabbed her 9 mm pistol and that’s when she says the suspect turned the barrel on her in the doorway,” reported news stories. Earlier last year, a woman in Temple, TX was shot with her own gun after she picked up the firearm and confronted two men who broke into her home last fall. By the time she had her pistol “in her hands one of the burglars had attacked her,” she told police.
As gun sales slump after the post Newtown sales boom when gun lovers scrambled to buy more weapons expecting tighter gun laws, the NRA is turning to a holdout demographic and wooing women. Its web site hails women hunters, glamorizes guns as fashionable accessories and trumpets the fact that women should “refuse to be victims.”
But according to most studies, a gun in the home increases a woman’s chance of being a victim. Exhibit A is the death of Reeva Steenkamp the girlfriend of Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius who he says he thought was an intruder when he shot and killed her.
A 2003 study by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania found women living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than women with no gun at home. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center also confirms that a gun in the house is a strong risk factor for murder and intimidation of women .
The NRA and the gun lobby have been accused of playing both sides of the gun sale street–lobbying for laws that enable “bad guys” to get guns and then selling more guns because “bad guys have guns.” The same sales tactic can be seen when it comes to selling guns to women. Protect yourself against your violent partner screams the NRA while unabashedly working to keep domestic offenders under orders of protection armed. Whose side is the gun lobby on?