A new study found that while firearm ownership was associated with higher rates of domestic violence gun homicide, there was no significant association between gun ownership rates and the rates of other kinds of gun homicide, The New York Times reports. The study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine examined state-level gun ownership from 1990 to 2016.
The study reaffirms a well-known connection between access to guns and abusive relationships turning deadly, at a time when intimate partner homicides are on the rise. Research has shown that women killed by their partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than by all other means combined, and the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations can increase the risk of homicide for women by as much as 500 percent, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. One possibility for the finding that other types of homicides showed no significant association with gun ownership rates, the researchers hypothesized, is that perpetrators in non-domestic homicides are more likely to obtain their weapons illegally, or to buy a weapon legally shortly before the crime. The National Rifle Association, which recently opposed efforts to expand law enforcement’s ability to restrict gun purchases by convicted domestic abusers, criticized the study for failing to consider certain factors that contribute to violence.