"Currently, 13 states and federal law prohibit gun purchases by individuals convicted of domestic violence; the study finds that states that extend this ban to people convicted of any violent misdemeanor experience 23 percent fewer intimate partner homicides," the university reports in a news release. Domestic-partner homicides were also reduced when gun restrictions extended to those who had abused dating partners, not just spouses or ex-spouses, and also when laws required that abusers surrender their firearms.
"The evidence from this study and previous research highly suggests that firearm restrictions work to reduce intimate-partner homicides and that laws need to be comprehensive when we think about populations most at risk for committing intimate partner violence," said MSU criminal-justice professor April Zeoli, the lead researcher. "Expanding restrictions from those who have been convicted of domestic violence to those who have been convicted of any violent misdemeanor, and including dating partners in domestic violence firearm laws would likely result in even greater reductions."
In rural America, gun ownership is much more common than in metropolitan areas, and 22.5 percent of women in small rural areas (and 17.9 percent in isolated areas) reported being victims of intimate-partner violence in 2011.