Women and guns: It’s complicated

Whether they favor gun ownership or gun control, women’s voices are often drowned out of the national conversation around firearms in the United States, according to a new report by Marie Claire in collaboration with the Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HIRC). With findings from a new national survey, and the stories of women from across the political spectrum, the report sheds light on American women’s opinions and experiences in relation to guns. A few key findings:

  • 32% live in a household with a gun.
  • 12% own a gun themselves (33% of men do)
  • 62% say laws governing gun sales should be stricter; 29% think they should stay the same; 8% say they should be less strict.
  • 15% of gun-owning women carried a loaded handgun in the last 30 days (23% of gun-owning men did)
  • 56% of gun-owning women think having a gun at home makes it a safer place; 20% of women in the general populace do.

David Hemenway, director of HIRC and professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in the article that self-defense gun use in the U.S. is “so rare that it’s hard to get a realistic picture of it.” According to the survey, less than 1% of women used a gun in self-defense in the last five years.

Read survey methodology and key findings

Read report: Women and Guns

Learn more

Will arming women on campuses make them safer? No, says expert (Harvard Chan School News)