Given the Santa Barbara killers’ hatred of women (though 4 of the 6 people killed were men), it is understandable that the topic of violence against women would be discussed. Not too surprisingly, despite the fact that half of those killed were killed by being stabbed, gun control organizations have been pushing for more gun control. In particular, Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action makes this claim about female victims of firearm homicides.
The only recent data on this is from the UNODC, but it only allows you to break down murders by the sex of the victim and by whether firearms are used. It doesn’t allow one to simultaneously identify homicides by both the sex of the victim and the method of murder.
So let’s breakdown homicides by the victim’s gender. Moms Demand Action’s claim doesn’t make much sense as one shouldn’t compare the number of homicides since that doesn’t account for differences in population size. There are a lot of small population countries. It would make much more sense to compare homicide rates. This figure from the UNODC shows that the US has one of the lower female homicide rates in the world.
So how does the US compare to other countries in terms of the share of homicides involving females? While 22.2% of US homicides involve females, that is below the median for all countries of 23.7% and the mean of 24.4%.
Even if one makes a comparison between the US and Europe, the US has a relatively low share of their homicides involving females. Only ten of the 42 European countries have a lower share than the US and 32 countries have a higher rate.
For those who question some of the numbers here, you can see the numbers for Europe on pages 138-9 available here.
The discussion was also posted at National Review Online. Because there is a larger strength differential between male criminals and female victims (much larger than the difference between male criminals and male victims), women benefit much more from gun ownership then men from guns. A gun represents a much larger change in a woman’s ability to defend herself. This is true if you look at the relationship between women carrying permits and crimes against women as well as the National Crime Victimization Survey data that shows women who use guns defensively are much less likely to be injured than women who behave passively.