Today, tragedies such as the shooting of a kindergartner riding the bus home from school are widely reported by the press and lead many people to believe that gun controls are desperately needed. Gun control opponents, on the other hand, are equally fervent in their belief that such measures would infringe the right to bear arms . Left out of this debate almost entirely, however, is the right of women to bear arms for self-defense. When women are described as arms bearers in the debate over gun control, they are typically characterized as potential rape victims and the rapists are presumed to be strangers. This picture is not accurate. Unlike men, women are sexually assaulted, severely beaten, and/or killed by someone they know more often than by a stranger. Domestic batterers in particular are responsible for a significant amount of violence against women. Given these differences, it is not enough simply to extend the same form of analysis used to evaluate armsbearing by men to the situation of women. In this Note I hope to broaden the debate over gun control by analyzing the situation of battered women.

Included in

Law Commons