In 2004, 20% of homicides were directly associated with intimate partner conflict (i.e., one in which an intimate partner killed another partner). Intimate partner violence resulting in death was most common among victims aged 40-44 years.

Murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women, according to the National Organization of Women.

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spends about $43 million a year on ways to reduce deaths and injuries from drowning, poisoning, suicide, industrial accidents, house fires and domestic violence. Of that sum, only $2.3 million (5% of the prevention budget) has been used to study the medical consequences of the use of firearms in the United States.

In my city of Philadelphia, a third policeman was shot this week. He has died from the gunshot to his head.

Kids in my daughter’s suburban middle school are banned this year from wearing “hoodies” (i.e., hooded sweatshirts) because of concerns that the children will smuggle guns or knives into the school.

Now, answer me this: is the above picture a “toy” that a five-year-old girl, fond of toys in pink boxes, might pick up and play with?

No, it’s a pink Taurus Millennium Pro 9mm Semi-Auto Pistol sold exclusively by Gander Mountain, self-described as an “outdoor lifestyle retailer.” The retailer has launched a line of firearms targeted (sorry) to women. Does this come under the heading Pretty in Pink?

Not unless you think that the latest firearms stats on women dying from gunshot wounds belong in Vogue magazine. But the way Gander Mountain describes the marketing strategy, guns are a fashion item, not a health risk to be managed. 

“The latest craze for the hunting enthusiast is now in a bold new color – pink. In addition to the traditional firearm hues, Gander Mountain stores are now selling an exclusive line of firearms that come in the hot new color for all things outdoor,” the company enthuses. The Gander Mountain’s press release rationalizes that, “While the male sector of the hunting community may stick to more muted colors, the new pink firearms have been welcomed by those who want to add a feminine touch to their shooting practice.”

Furthermore, Gander Mountain contends that women shooters are a fast-growing segment of “outdoor customers.” Gander Mountain says that, “a 20 GA pink shotgun first hit the shelves last year and sales were strong enough that Gander Mountain decided to add a wider selection of pink firearms.”

It’s not just a trend among women, but girls, too; the company notes that they are seeing more and more girls attending hunter safety courses with their parents. “Girls are actively participating in family hunting traditions, but some may want to have a little more fun with it by getting a pink shotgun,” the company observes. Take that, Barbie!

The Remington 870 Junior 20-gauge pink shotgun, shown on the right, is made “specifically for a young beginner.” This week it is on sale with a $30 rebate at Gander Mountain for $369.99 and comes with a free matching pink hat. The gun bears a slogan: “Shoot like a girl if you can!”

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Read the Brady campaign’s report, No Gun Left Behind. Then tell me if we need pink shotguns. Perhaps next October ’08, Gander Mountain will promote a pink-guns-for-breast-cancer-awareness tie-in.