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  • New research suggests that handgun purchasers with a previous DUI conviction are more likely to commit violence crimes than handgun purchasers without a DUI record.
  • Researchers identified every individual between 21 and 49 years old who legally purchased a handgun in California in 2001; researchers then identified any violent crime arrests that took place after their 2001 gun purchase through 2013.
  • The team used the California Department of Justice Dealer’s Record of Sale Database and California Department of Justice Criminal History Information System.
  • Nine percent of the handgun purchasers who had a prior DUI conviction (and no other criminal history) were eventually arrested for murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault, compared with 2% of purchasers with no prior DUI record (or any criminal history).
  • According to the researchers, a DUI conviction was linked with more than 2x the risk of future arrest for a violent crime.
  • This study suggests that handgun purchasers with a prior DUI conviction at the time of purchase are more likely to commit violent crimes compared with those without a prior DUI conviction.

Quick Summary

A new study “Association of prior convictions for driving under the influence with risk of subsequent arrest for violent crimes among handgun purchasers” published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that those with a prior DUI conviction who purchase a handgun are more likely to be violent and commit crimes than handgun purchasers who do not have a history of DUI. These violent offenses and crimes include murder, rape, and robbery.

Investigation

The research team analyzed the California Department of Justice Dealer’s Record of Sale Database to determine every individual between ages 21 and 49 who legally purchased a handgun in the state in the year 2001. The team decided to narrow in on this specific age group because individuals must be at least 21 to purchase a gun in the state of California and the crime rate among people 50 years and older is low.

Then, researchers referred to the California Department of Justice Criminal History Information System to identify violent crime arrests among these individuals after their 2001 gun purchase through the year 2013. Individuals with one or more previous DUI convictions at the time of purchase were compared with handgun purchasers who did not have any previous DUI convictions.

Findings

There were a total of 78,878 individuals that the research team tracked for 13 years. 9% of the handgun purchasers who had a prior DUI conviction (and no other criminal history) were later arrested for murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault, compared with 2% of purchasers with no prior DUI record (or criminal history period). According to the researchers, a DUI conviction was linked with more than 2x the risk of future arrest for a violent crime. 

Implications

This study suggests that handgun purchasers with a prior DUI conviction at the time of purchase are more likely to commit violent crimes compared with those without a prior DUI conviction.

Limitations

  • This study only analyzed people who lived in the state of California.
  • Also, this research did not include the following subgroup: individuals who purchased a handgun after being convicted of another violent misdemeanor, as they are not allowed to legally purchase a handgun within 10 years of their conviction. 

Sources

Kagawa, R. M. C., Stewart, S., et al (2019, September 30). Association of Prior Convictions for Driving Under the Influence with Risk of Subsequent Arrest for Violent Crimes Among Handgun Purchasers. JAMA Internal Medicine. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2751947

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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