Family members and intimate partners are uniquely positioned to prevent an at-risk person from firearm access, as family members and intimate partners might notice warning signs or be victims of the of individual’s violence. Additionally, family members and intimate partners often know where and how firearms in their home are, giving them the opportunity to intervene and prevent future harm. However, besides research on DVROs and ERPOs, there is no research on how and when family members and intimate partners act to prevent their loved one from firearm access.
One place to study these efforts to reduce firearm access is when law enforcement officers are called to the scene. Law enforcement officers are consistently seen as credible messengers around firearm safe storage, are often willing to temporarily store firearms when someone in the home is at-risk of harming themselves, and depending on the incident and state law, can seize firearms or take them for safekeeping. By identifying when and how family members and intimate partners reduce firearm access, we can then evaluate these efforts for safety and efficacy in decreasing firearm injury, and study and address legal obstacles to reducing firearm access. This dissertation will use police incident reports to explore family members’ and intimate partners’ efforts to reduce firearm access when their adult loved one is at risk of harming themselves or others. The objectives of this dissertation are two-fold: (1) identify and characterize family and intimate partners’ efforts to reduce firearm access, and (2) identify what demographic and incident-level factors are important in predicting these efforts.
New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center
Principal Investigators (PI):
Jennifer Paruk, MPH, Karen Holt, PhD