COVID-19 and Guns

Guns Don’t Make You Safer

Guns won’t protect us during this time of uncertainty.

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz issued the following statement:

“As the world faces the COVID-19 public health emergency, America is still grappling with another public health crisis: gun violence. Gun violence and the COVID-19 pandemic are inextricably linked. As Americans are asked to stay home, many might be in closer proximity to guns for longer periods of time. This is a concern because even under normal circumstances, guns in the home are dangerous.

“For individuals quarantined with domestic abusers, for example, this is an extremely difficult and dangerous time. A gun in the home with a domestic abuser creates a deadly situation — increasing the chances that the abused partner will be murdered five-fold. American women are at a higher risk of homicide than women in any other high-income country. A large reason for this is armed domestic abusers.

“Individuals at risk of suicide are also put in a dangerous situation when there are guns in the home. Having a gun in the home increases the odds of suicide more than three-fold. Gun suicides already make up 60% of American gun deaths; with Americans home and under the cloud of uncertainty and stress, firearm suicides may increase. Our organization has made available resources and information to address firearm suicide.

“Likewise, with children home from school and daycare and many parents trying to work from home, the presence of guns increases the likelihood of tragedy. The availability of a gun increases the chances of an unintentional firearm death for all age groups, but this is especially a concern for young children who are home and curious. Guns in the home are a danger to children and teens — particularly when they are not safely stored.

“For communities most impacted by gun violence, COVID-19 presents yet another challenge. Gun violence is perpetuated by the same inequities — poverty, income inequality, underperforming schools, and under-resourced public services — that affect how communities are experiencing COVID-19. As communities navigate COVID-19, we encourage decision makers to use an equity lens when allocating resources, understanding the disproportionate impacts these communities will face. It is imperative to begin consistently tackling the inequities that have disproportionately impacted these communities to improve their quality of life, improve health outcomes, and break cycles of violence.

“Americans have been asked to stay home as a matter of public safety. At the same time, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has preyed on fears and incited panic to increase gun sales and line their pockets. They are asking people to go out — not for food or medicine — but to purchase items that will automatically make homes less safe. That is the opposite of responsibility. The opposite of patriotism.

“Americans will come together to get through this difficult period. Our organization realizes that one gun death is far too many. No citizen should have to livestream the funeral of a loved one after a senseless act of gun violence. These deaths are preventable. We will continue to educate and inform the public on the evidence-based information that will keep them safe.”

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For more information on Domestic Violence visit disarmdv.org

For more information on Firearm Suicide visit PreventFirearmSuicide.com

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