Gun buyers in California convicted of driving under the influence are at greater risk of committing a violent crime or a firearm-related offense, a group of researchers at UC Davis found in a broad study that tracks gun purchasers over the span of a decade.
The study, which monitored people who bought guns in 2001 until 2013, builds on previous research that warns of a disturbing connection between alcohol use and gun violence. But the latest work relies on a larger sample of nearly 80,000 records on legal handgun buyers.
Researchers found that 3 percent of purchasers with a prior DUI conviction engaged in violent crime with a firearm, according to the findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. By comparison, only 0.5 percent of people with no prior arrests or convictions committed a violent crime with a firearm.
“What we’re finding is that having a DUI at the time of purchase is actually an indicator of increased risk for future violence. We think that in itself is very important,” said Rose Kagawa, an assistant professor who led the study and researcher at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Program.
“Compared with purchasers who had no prior criminal history, purchasers with only DUI convictions and no other criminal history had nearly three times the risk of arrest for firearm-related violent crime.”