No protection: Does offering dating partners the same legal protection as married partners prevent firearm-related intimate partner homicide? A cross-sectional analysis from 1976-2010
Alvarado, Miriam Ronda
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<bold>Background</bold>: In 2010, at least 1,300 people were killed by an intimate partner in the United States. Guns are used in the majority of intimate partner homicides (IPH). Previous research has shown that state-specific laws that prohibit individuals with a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) from owning or purchasing a gun are associated with a decrease in IPH. However, only 22 states allowed dating partners to file for domestic violence restraining orders as of 2010. <bold>Objective</bold>: This study will focus on whether state-specific DVRO laws that protect dating partners have been associated with declines in firearm-related dating IPH. <bold>Design</bold>: We used a negative binomial regression model and controlled for median income, background violent crime rate, percent urban, percent black, and percent under 35 years old. We conducted a sensitivity analysis controlling for four additional IPH-related gun control laws. <bold>Main outcome measures</bold>: Four main outcome measures were used: the number of female gun-related IPH, the number of female all-cause IPH, the number of all gun-related IPH, and the number of all-cause IPH. <bold>Results</bold>: Expanding the domestic violence restraining order law to protect dating partners was associated with a decline in dating IPH (p=.001). In 2010, we estimated 110 (76-145) deaths were averted because of protections afforded to dating partners in 22 states. If all states had implemented this law, an additional 84 (60-109) deaths could have been prevented. Cumulatively, 937 (564 -1,325) deaths have been averted from 1994-2010 because of DVRO protections for dating partners. If all states had passed the expanded law to protect dating partners in 1994, an additional 885 (453-1,317) deaths could have been averted over the same period. <bold>Conclusions</bold>: The evidence suggests that expanding DVRO laws to protect dating partners may reduce the annual number of intimate partner homicides in the US.
- Global health