The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) seeks to make people safer from gun violence by securing stronger regulation on guns in society and better controls on arms exports.
Project Ploughshares works to identify, develop, and advance approaches that build peace and prevent war, and promote the peaceful resolution of political conflict.
Both IANSA and Project Ploughshares are promoting the implementation of The United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA).
Unfortunately, the PoA mentions gender only once, to address the negative impact of small arms on women, children, and the elderly (UN 2001, I.6). This lack of attention is problematic because it means that the PoA fails to address the unique ways in which women are affected by firearms.
Ken Epps, a Program Associate with Ploughshares and someone who has been involved in the Open Ended Working Group on the Arms Trade Treaty, has stated that “[in] the case of small arms and light weapons, the solutions to the problem will not work without gender analysis.”
Overall, more men die more often as a result of firearms than women, but one type of gun violence that affects women on a larger scale then men is domestic violence, especially that involving the use of a firearm. Women are more likely than men to be killed by their spouses. In Canada, the rate of spousal homicide against females has been between 3 and 5 times higher than the rate for males during the 30-year period from 1977 to 2006.
To highlight this issue, IANSA and some of its partners have come together to launch the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign. As I have described in past entries, the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign is the first international campaign to protect women from gun violence in the home. The main goal is to ensure that anyone with a history of domestic abuse is denied access to a firearm, or have their licenses revoked.
This summer, Advocacy Project Peace Fellows are working with IANSA and their partner organizations around the world on the campaign. I am the only fellow working in a country that already has harmonized gun control and domestic violence laws in place; Canada’s Firearms Act has licensing and registration provisions that work together to prevent and lessen the occurrence of domestic violence.
During my time as an AP fellow, I have been working to illustrate the benefits and effectiveness of this legislation as well as the need for tighter gun control in other countries. Canada’s Firearms Act is internationally recognized as good practice and has been commended for recognizing that guns and gun control are gendered issues.
Through the continued work of IANSA, Project Ploughshares and the Advocacy Project, awareness of the negative impacts of the proliferation of small arms and specifically their use in domestic violence, will be increased. Advocacy for the development by governments of public policies and legislation to take guns out of the hands of potential and actual abusers will contribute to stopping violence against women.
Posted By Elizabeth Mandelman (Canada)
Posted May 12th, 2014