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NEW REPORT: The Devastating Toll of Gun Violence on Women

Women of color are disproportionately impacted by America’s gun violence epidemic.

Washington DC Today, GIFFORDS Law Center released a new report analyzing the impact of gun violence on women’s safety, health, and well-being 29 years after the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law. Each year, more than 6,000 women die from gun violence. More than half of these deaths are gun suicides, and women are also heavily impacted by the deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence. Thousands more women are left in the wake of gun violence’s trauma. Understanding this burden is essential to creating and implementing responsive solutions that will protect women, their families, and their communities.

The report comes out as the Supreme Court is poised to hear oral arguments forUnited States v. Rahimi in November. Earlier this year the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns. 

Kelly Drane, Research Director, GIFFORDS Law Center:

“Gun violence is an issue with deep, multifaceted impacts on women’s health and safety. Gun suicide and homicide rates for women and girls have steadily risen in recent years, and the burden of gun violence survivorship is one that too often falls on the shoulders of women. We also know that guns in the hands of abusive partners lead to the death and injury of thousands of women every single year. Nearly 30 years ago today the Violence Against Women Act was enacted for the first time. Now, the lives of women across the country are once again under attack in the upcoming United States v. Rahimi Supreme Court case. We know there are solutions to address this problem. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act took a step forward last year in addressing the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ but it is imperative that lawmakers and courts act to save women’s lives.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Each year, more than 2,600 women die in gun homicides. Women of color make up 61% of these deaths, despite comprising less than 40% of the US population.
  • Women bear a disproportionate burden of the deadly intersection of firearms and domestic violence in particular. More than two-thirds of all intimate partner homicides of women are committed with guns.
  • Although women die from gun violence at lower rates than men, women—particularly women of color—disproportionately bear the social, psychological, and financial burden of gun violence survivorship. 
  • Each year, an average of more than 3,250 women die by firearm suicide, representing 54% of all gun deaths among women. Gun suicide rates among women are on the rise, and these increases are larger for women of color. Research also suggests that the rise in suicides among women is concentrated, in part, among young women and girls.


  • Comprehensive background checks through firearm licensing
  • Enact suicide prevention laws
  • Strengthen domestic violence laws
  • Invest in community violence intervention strategies