(CNSNews.com) - Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) wants members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on "preventing gun violence against women," the first step to passing (gun control) legislation, she says.
"[M]any of those who perpetrate violence against women are still allowed easy access to firearms," Giffords wrote this month in an open letter to the Judiciary Committee.
Giffords writes that women are more likely than men to be killed or stalked by an intimate partner; and she says having a gun in a household with a history of domestic violence makes it much more likely that a women will be killed there.
"On behalf of more than 500,000 members of Americans for Responsible Solutions, I strongly urge you to hold a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss ways to prevent gun violence against women."
Americans for Responsible Solutions is the group Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly founded after Giffords was seriously injured and six of her constituents were killed by a deranged gunman who showed up at one of her public gatherings three years ago.
While describing themselves as gun owners and strong supporters of the Second Amendment, Giffords and Kelly also advocate universal background checks and other "commonsense" measures opposed by "entrenched interests like the gun lobby."
(The National Rifle Association says universal background checks would set the stage for legislation establishing a national gun registry, and it notes that criminals don't undergo background checks to get their firearms.)
Although Giffords' group is framing "gun violence" as a women's issue, polls and press reports indicate that self-defense and gun ownership also are of growing interest to women.
A 2011 Gallup poll found that 23 percent of all women say they personally own a gun, up from 13 percent in 2005.
Two months ago, CNN Money reported that women are the gun industry's fastest growing clientele, some purchasing weapons made in colors and styles made to specifically appeal to them.
And in February 2013, the New York Times reported that the "Rising Voice of Gun Ownership Is Female."