2021-2024, Active

The Role of Permit-to-Purchase in the Primary Prevention of Multiple Forms of Violence

Affiliated Project

The study will examine the impact of permit-to-purchase laws on youth violence and intimate partner violence. Drawing from multiple data sources, including homicide and nonfatal shootings, suicide, perpetration of violent crimes, weapons offenses, and more, the findings could inform how states and the federal government can effectively enforce existing gun laws to prevent violence.

Note: This project was funded during Dr. April Zeoli’s tenure at Michigan State University.

Abstract

Permit-to-purchase laws for handguns, also known as purchaser licensing, are state-level policies that limit access to guns by prohibited individuals. They complement comprehensive background check laws and can strengthen the background check system by requiring prospective purchasers to first apply for and obtain a permit before buying a gun. Several studies have found states with comprehensive background checks coupled with firearm purchaser licensing laws have significantly fewer gun deaths. However, only nine states have permit-to-purchase laws that cover all handgun transfers.

The study will examine the impact of permit-to-purchase laws on youth violence and intimate partner violence. Drawing from multiple data sources, including homicide and nonfatal shootings, suicide, perpetration of violent crimes, weapons offenses, and more, the findings could inform how states and the federal government can effectively enforce existing gun laws to prevent violence.

Youth in the United States experience disproportionately high rates of violence and death, largely driven by firearms, with large differences among racial groups. Rates of firearm homicide are as much as four times higher for Black youth compared to white youth, and rates of firearm homicide among Black youth have been increasing since 2014. Intimate partner homicide is a leading cause of violent death for women in the United States. From 2010 through 2017, approximately 44 percent of women and 5 percent of men were killed by their intimate partner. The majority of intimate partner homicides are committed with a gun.

Project Team

April Zeoli

Funders

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Michigan State University

Partners

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health