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Samantha Bee Reminds Us What Most Mass Shooters Have in Common: Domestic Violence

[NB: The above segment is delivered in Bee’s usual glib and humorous tone, so if you’re still shaken by the recent church shooting in Sutherland Springs, TX and don’t want to hear lines about “the shootiest places,” you may want to hold off on viewing.]

On Wednesday’s episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Samantha Bee reminded her viewers of the connection between domestic violence and mass shooting. As Everytown for Gun Safety reported in their detailed study of U.S. mass shootings from 2009-2016, “the majority of mass shootings—54 percent of cases—were related to domestic or family violence.”

“Even if you don’t give a shit about domestic violence,” Bee says in the video, “abused women are the canary in the coal mine for mass shootings.”

Bee’s segment also quotes an NBC Think segment, which explains, “[Mass shooters] tend to have these notions of a woman’s traditional place, they tend to be rankled by women who speak out … These are people who want to exercise control over women.”

Bee then jokes, “This study brought to you by The Institute for Men Confirming Things That Women Have Known Since the Beginning of Fucking Time,” and as ever, that joke is a little too real, because women have written repeatedly about this link. Back in June, Jane Mayer wrote about the connection between mass shootings and domestic violence for The New Yorker. Rebecca Traister wrote about it for New York magazine back in July of 2016, and Amanda Taub covered it for The New York Times in June of 2016.

Domestic violence and gun violence are linked in more ways than one. Intimate partners and family members are responsible for 52% of female deaths by firearm. In other words, laws which prevent domestic abusers from owning or purchasing guns could potentially cut the total number of women killed by guns in half. 

As Everytown for Gun Safety summarizes, “Guns make it more likely that domestic abuse will turn fatal—when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, the likelihood that a woman will be shot and killed increases fivefold … Cities in states that restrict access to firearms for those under domestic violence protective orders see a 25 percent reduction in intimate partner gun deaths.”

There is cause for hope, though. The Supreme Court itself has affirmed the constitutionality of firearm bans for domestic violence convictions, and eight states passed such laws this year. But Bee’s segment points out that even in states with domestic violence laws, the “boyfriend loophole” and poor enforcement can make these restrictions less effective. Some states will only apply the gun-purchasing and gun-owning ban if an abuser was ever married to their partner, living with them, or had a child with them. Non-cohabitating boyfriends, even if convicted of domestic violence, can still purchase guns.

If your state is one of those that still needs to close the boyfriend loophole, time to call your representatives.

(featured image: screengrab)

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