Restricting gun access to violent men could help prevent homicides of a person by someone identified as their intimate partner, according to a recent study published in Springer's Journal of Urban Health.
The research team extracted data from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System between 2004 and 2013 and found 16.8 percent of the 6,440 homicides reported in the state involved intimate partner homicide cases. Of those 813 cases, women were the victim in three out of every four cases, and were killed 99 percent of the time.
Researchers also found one in every two cases ended in the perpetrator committing suicide, and guns were the weapon of choice seven out of 10 times.
"It is well known that gun access increases the chance that a violent domestic relationship will end in death," lead author Sierra Smucker of Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy said. "The current findings demonstrate that intimate partner homicides through the use of guns are often coupled with additional killings."
A mass shooting at a high school in Florida in February reignited the gun control debate, and some lawmakers have called for stricter reform. According to a study published in early March, U.S. states with the strongest gun laws have fewer gun-related murders and fewer suicides than states that take a more permissive approach.
"It is important to preempt gun access by suicidal batterers, rather than depending on the deterrent effect of the threat of severe penalties or punishment," Smucker said. "Someone who plans to commit suicide is logically beyond the reach of the legal threat."
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