News Release 

Prior DUI convictions among legal handgun purchasers associated with risk of later violent crimes

JAMA Internal Medicine

Bottom Line: A study of legal handgun purchasers in California suggests convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) prior to a gun purchase may be associated with subsequent risk of arrest for violent crimes, including firearm-related ones. The observational study included about 79,000 gun purchasers followed-up from their first gun purchase in 2001 through 2013. Of the 1,495 purchasers with DUI convictions, 131 (8.8%) were subsequently arrested for violent crimes listed on the Crime Index (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) published by the FBI. Among 65,700 purchasers with no prior criminal history, 1,188 (1.8%) were subsequently arrested for Crime Index-listed violent crimes. Compared with gun purchasers who had no prior criminal history, gun purchasers with prior DUI convictions and no other criminal history were at increased risk of arrest for a Crime Index-listed violent crime, a firearm-related violent crime and any violent crime. Limitations of the study include the exclusion of gun purchasers age 50 and older thus limiting the generalizability of the findings. The federal government and many states have restricted the purchase and possession of firearms by members of high-risk groups, such as people convicted of felonies, domestic violence and other violent misdemeanors, and study authors suggest that similar restrictions on people convicted of DUI may help to reduce violent criminal activity.

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Authors: Rose M.C. Kagawa, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of California, Davis, in Sacramento, and coauthors


Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Rose M.C. Kagawa, Ph.D., M.P.H., email Carole Gan at The full study and commentary are linked to this news release.

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