After the Gun: Examining Police and Intimate Partner Violence Following Incidents Involving a Firearm

Richard A. Berk, Susan B. Sorenson, Dylan S. Small

Laws have been enacted to keep firearms out of the hands of abusers. In this study, we examined one such effort – removal of a firearm at the scene of intimate partner violence (IPV) – to assess the subsequent occurrence and number of IPV incidents responded to by police and subsequent risk of injury to the victim. Using the 28,977 IPV calls in one large U.S. city to which officers responded during the 2013 calendar year, we identified 220 first-time incidents in which offenders used (i.e., brandished, pistol-whipped, shot) a pistol, revolver, rifle, or shotgun. Officers reported removing a firearm from 52 (24%) of the offenders. After using full propensity score matching to control for potential confounders, logistic and Poisson regressions were used to assess differences between those from whom a firearm was removed and those whose firearm was not removed. Firearm removal at the scene of an IPV incident appears to increase the likelihood of subsequent IPV reports to police and suggestive evidence that subsequent injury to the victim might increase as well. The offender shifting from threats with a firearm to physical violence and a change (an increase as well as a decrease) in victim willingness to summon police might account for the findings.

PDF icon IPVSmallSubmission.pdf