Madison – Following the November 19 Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, in which 5 people were shot and killed in what is being charged as a hate crime against LGBTQIA+ community, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (End Abuse) calls for cultural and legal shifts that reflect the data-backed relationship between domestic violence, firearms, and mass violence.
According to the latest Domestic Violence Homicide Report, Wisconsin domestic violence homicides took place a rate of 1 death every 4.5 days in 2021. The homicide method in the majority of cases – 67% – was firearms, and over 1/3 of those who used a gun were legally prohibited from possessing that firearm. In addition to 2021 homicide data, the report spotlights the link between mass violence and intimate partner violence (IPV).
“In over half of mass shootings,” said End Abuse Executive Director Monique Minkens, “the perpetrator also shot a current or former partner. We’ve been saying it, repeatedly, for years. Research & data prove it. The link between domestic violence, firearms, and mass shootings is undeniable. And yet we grieve, again, for lives lost to preventable violence at the hands of those who hold power to prevent it.”
The statewide coalition – alongside other experts in the field – calls the intersections of domestic and gun violence a public health crisis. Notable is Colorado’s red flag law, which is intended to reduce homicide risk by removing weapons from those who are known to use violence and pose increased public safety risk.
“Domestic violence,” said Minkens, “is a public health issue. Firearms regulation is a public health issue. The Club Q shooter had a history of domestic violence. Yet, despite Colorado’s red flag laws and the shooter’s history of violence, they accessed the gun used to slaughter five people and injure many more. Until these issues are acted on for what the data shows them to be – public health crises – we will continue to see massacres.”
End Abuse routinely includes firearms regulation, especially Extreme Risk Protection Orders and Universal Background Checks, in their statewide public policy advocacy as a top priority for lawmakers to enact in order to protect domestic violence survivors and the public more broadly. End Abuse’s legislative agenda highlights the disparate impacts of violence on marginalized communities, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community.
We know,” said Minkens, “that historically excluded communities – especially those with marginalized identities related to race, class, sexual orientation, disability, and gender – are particularly at risk when we look at the intersections of domestic violence and gun violence. Disabled, BIPOC, and LGBTQ folks deserve dignity, safety, and support, not legislation and cultural narratives that dehumanize and further marginalize them. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community in the wake of this tragedy, and call for those with the power to enact meaningful change to end harmful laws and narratives that result in bloodshed.”