Two-thirds of homicides of ex- and current spouses were committed with firearms (Fox and Zawitz, 2007). In locations where individuals under restraining orders to stay away from current or ex-partners are prohibited from access to firearms, female partner homicide is reduced by 7 percent (Vigdor and Mercy, 2006). Research on restricted access to firearms in 46 large U.S. cities from 1979 to 2003 indicated that restricted access was associated with reduced firearm and total intimate partner homicide (Zeoli and Webster, 2010).
Most firearm-related deaths are suicides. Fifty percent of suicides are by firearm and 60 percent of firearm deaths are suicides (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2013). Research demonstrates that the proportion of suicide by firearm is greater in areas with higher household gun ownership (NRC, 2005). Further, two studies found “a small but significant fraction of gun suicides are committed within days to weeks after the purchase of a handgun, and both [studies] also indicate that gun purchasers have an elevated risk of suicide for many years after the purchase of the gun” (NRC, 2005, p. 181).
Community Programs and Targeted Policing
Strengthened community policing and place-based interventions in certain “hotspots” have shown effective and compelling results in several places: Indianapolis, Kansas City, Missouri, and Pittsburgh are notable examples (NRC, 2005). Despite being well designed, however, evaluations of these interventions could not link all the changes to the programs. In addition, these interventions were limited, making long-term results difficult to predict.
Operation Cure Violence (previously referred to as CeaseFire) is a multicity, community-based violence prevention program that reaches out to gangs and other high-risk groups and individuals to interrupt disputes and violence (NIJ, 2008). Although not specific to firearm violence, Cure Violence has had some success in reducing overall violence in Chicago. In six of seven sites evaluated, attempted and actual shootings declined from 24 to 17 percent (Skogan et al., 2008). A metaanalysis by Arizona State University and the University of Cincinnati found that law enforcement efforts, such as place-based policing and probation with frequent contact with police, had more impact than prosecutorial policies, including stiff sentences (Makarios and Pratt, 2012).