Analysis of the Strength of Legal Firearms Restrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Their Associations With Intimate Partner Homicide

Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Jul 1;187(7):1449-1455. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx362.


In this research, we estimate the association of firearm restrictions for domestic violence offenders with intimate partner homicides (IPHs) on the basis of the strength of the policies. We posit that the association of firearm laws with IPHs depends on the following characteristics of the laws: 1) breadth of coverage of high-risk individuals and situations restricted; 2) power to compel firearm surrender or removal from persons prohibited from having firearms; and 3) systems of accountability that prevent those prohibited from doing so from obtaining guns. We conducted a quantitative policy evaluation using annual state-level data from 1980 through 2013 for 45 US states. Based on the results of a series of robust, negative binomial regression models with state fixed effects, domestic violence restraining order firearm-prohibition laws are associated with 10% reductions in IPH. Statistically significant protective associations were evident only when restraining order prohibitions covered dating partners (-11%) and ex parte orders (-12%). Laws prohibiting access to those convicted of nonspecific violent misdemeanors were associated with a 24% reduction in IPH rates; there was no association when prohibitions were limited to domestic violence. Permit-to-purchase laws were associated with 10% reductions in IPHs. These findings should inform policymakers considering laws to maximize protections against IPH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Firearms / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology