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Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

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1. Restricting firearms in domestic abusers may decrease intimate partner homicide rates.

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2. Laws that did not explicitly require offenders to relinquish firearms had no significant effect on reducing intimate partner homicide rates.

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Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown:

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In the United States, around 50% of intimate partner homicides (IPH) occur due to the use of firearms. Studies have suggested that in situations of intimate partner violence, when abusers have access to firearms, it increases their risk of IPH by up to 5-fold. The authors of this study aimed evaluate the relationship between state domestic abuser firearm laws and IPH rates over a 25-year period from 1991 to 2015. Generally, they found that gun laws requiring domestic abusers to surrender firearms could save lives. This study has several limitations. First, their methodology did not take into consideration variation in enforcement of the laws within each state. Furthermore, states that have laws preventing firearm possession in those involved in intimate partner violence may have inherent differences from states that do not have these laws; these potential additional differences were not captured in this study.

In-Depth [retrospective cohort]:

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The authors of this study conducted a panel study assessing the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and IPH from 1991 to 2015. The panel included state-level predictor and outcome variables for all of the states over the time period of the study. Four specific types of IPV firearm laws were assessed and the authors evaluated state-specific, total, and firearm-related IPH rates annually. Generally, it was found that state laws prohibiting persons subject to IPV decrease the rates of IPH. For example, laws that restrained the possession of firearms and also required the surrender of any current firearms were associated with a 9.7% reduction in total IPH rates (95% CI, 3.4% to 15.5% reduction) and 14.0% decrease in firearm-related IPH rates (CI, 5.1% to 22.0%) compared to states that did not have similar laws. Additionally, the authors observed that while the number of states with IPV-related firearms increased significantly over the course of the study, the states were less likely to have laws that required persons at risk for IPV to relinquish firearms that they currently had in possession.

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