Jun 28, 2010
CONTACT Lisa Lederer

Domestic Violence Expert Calls U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in McDonald v. Chicago a “Dangerous, Disappointing Step Backward that Will Cost Women’s Lives”

Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. Chicago:

“Guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination that injure or kill women in this country every day – and the carnage and trauma will almost certainly worsen in the aftermath of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McDonald vs. Chicago. In holding that the private right to bear arms for the purposes of self defense applies to the states, the Supreme Court has stripped cities of the ability to protect citizens from the potent and pervasive threat of violence from firearms.

Today’s ruling will likely result in more guns in the hands of more dangerous and abusive individuals in more states. It will result in more victims of abuse being injured and killed, and more of their children being victimized and traumatized.

In finding that ordinances such as Chicago’s gun ban are unconstitutional, the Court has effectively abridged the right and ability of states and localities – which better understand the dangers to their citizens – to regulate the sale and possession of handguns. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, on average three or four women in this country are murdered each day by current or former husbands or boyfriends. Firearms are the most common weapon used in intimate partner homicides. Guns also are frequently used to intimidate and terrorize victims of domestic violence. Research shows that the mere presence of a firearm – or access to one – increases fatality rates in abusive relationships.

Congress has recognized the threat to victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking caused by firearms. To try to mitigate that threat, the Violence Against Women Act and the federal Gun Control Act include provisions that prohibit perpetrators who are subject to qualifying protection orders, or who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes, from possessing firearms. Those provisions are life saving, but they are not enough.

While the Chicago case has been remanded to a lower court, it is likely that the city of Chicago has appreciably lost its ability to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of batterers. This ruling is a dangerous, disappointing step backward that will, quite simply, cost women’s lives.”

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Note: The Family Violence Prevention Fund joined other non-profit public interest groups in an amicus curiae brief asking the Court to uphold Chicago’s gun ban. The brief is available online.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at

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