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ICYMI: New Study Offers Evidence Strong Gun Laws Can Reduce Domestic Violence Homicides

I want to make sure you saw new research out last week that analyzed state gun laws and intimate partner homicide data from 45 states between 1980 and 2013. Among other findings, researchers found that states with stronger gun safety laws see a reduction in intimate partner homicides.

Led by Michigan State University researcher April Zeoli, the team also included researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Toledo. Key findings included:

  • States with laws barring firearm possession by people subject to a domestic violence restraining order experienced a 9 percent reduction in intimate partner homicide. Of this group, the states with laws that covered abusive dating partners in addition to abusive spouses and other categories of abusers saw a 10 percent reduction in intimate partner homicide.
  • States with laws that require domestic abusers to relinquish their firearms experienced a 12 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides.
  • States with laws that prohibit firearm possession by people convicted of any violent misdemeanor – not exclusive to domestic violence – were associated with a 23 percent reduction in intimate partner homicide.
  • Background checks reduce intimate partner homicides as well. States with permit-to-purchase background check laws were associated with a 10 percent reduction in intimate partner homicide. States with both permit-to-purchase laws and prohibitions related to domestic violence restraining orders were associated with a 16 percent reduction in intimate partner homicide.

This new research follows a study released in September in which researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health found domestic violence-related firearm relinquishment laws are associated with a 14 percent reduction in intimate partner gun homicides.

Both studies add to the body of research showing strong, common-sense gun laws can prevent fatal domestic violence. Research has also shown American women are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries and that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be shot and killed.

Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator compiles information about gun laws in every state, including state gun laws related to keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, for each year dating back to 1991.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with a research or policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.