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Gun buyers with prior DUIs have greater risk for violence, study finds

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Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 14:51:56-04

DAVIS, Calif. – Laws limiting gun access to people displaying potentially risky behavior are passing in more states, but new research suggests it may be worth going further.

The University of California, Davis’s Violence Prevention Research Program found a connection between alcohol, guns and future violent crimes.

Researchers looked at people who bought guns in California in 2001. They found those with DUI convictions before buying a gun had nearly three times the risk of committing a future violent crime.

About 9% were later arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault. That’s compared to only 2% of gun owners with no prior criminal history going on to commit a violent crime.

Although the numbers are relatively small, one of the study’s authors talked about why this could be the case.

“We know that alcohol use is associated with increased aggression through just direct effects and also alcohol use might be an indicator of an increased willingness to engage in harmful behavior,” said Rose Kagawa with the Violence Prevention Research Program.

The violence prevention program also plans to take the data and look at other trends in crimes committed after someone buys a gun.

“Other things we're looking at are drug-related convictions, intimate partner violence convictions and then other non-violent misdemeanors because California actually has a violent misdemeanor prohibition in place already,” said Kagawa.

California is considering restricting firearms access to people with multiple DUI convictions. The legislature passed a similar bill in 2014 that the governor vetoed because he was concerned there wasn’t enough of a link between the two.