New Jersey residents may not realize that women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be killed by a firearm than those in other countries. The availability of guns and the lack of strict gun laws are believed to be connected to the prevalence of guns and domestic violence. While most people are familiar with such mass shootings as the high-profile Charleston church shooting and the Oregon State shooting, many do not realize that they also take place behind closed doors or that many involve victims who were intimate partners of the shooter.
By the end of October 2015, more than 300 mass shootings had occurred that year in the United States. The overwhelming majority of shootings involved domestic violence. The EveryTown group conducted research into mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2015. What the group found was a distinct pattern involving women, who represented 50 percent of the victims in mass shootings. Among firearm deaths in non-mass shootings, women made up only 15 percent of deaths. A good percentage of those women were killed by people they had an intimate relationship with and 76 percent of mass shootings involved a domestic violence connection.
Many mass shootings occur as part of an escalating pattern of violence and abuse. The abusers are typically men who emotionally and physically abuse their partners and other members of their households, such as children and pets. Their partners are often afraid to report the violent behavior, but some have called the police for help in the past. The risk of death in domestic violence situations significantly increases if the abuser has access to a gun.
A family law attorney may be able to help investigate a domestic violence complaint on behalf of a client who is going through a divorce after being abused by her partner. Abused women are often more vulnerable at this stage due to emotions running high, so an attorney may also be able to help with the process of filing a protective order that can help keep the abuser away from the victim during the divorce process.