Restricting access to firearms for people who
misuse alcohol could prevent firearm violence, but policies that more
clearly define alcohol misuse should be developed to facilitate
enforcement, according to a review of existing research and public
policies by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.
The analysis, published online April 30 in the peer-reviewed journal Preventive Medicine, summarizes
studies on binge drinking and other forms of alcohol misuse in
association with firearm access and use, including firearm violence. It
also describes the shortcomings of existing policies designed to
restrict access to firearms among those who are at high risk for
violence due to alcohol misuse—particularly people with multiple prior
convictions for alcohol-related offenses such as driving while under the
“Both acute alcohol intoxication and chronic
alcohol misuse are strongly associated with risk for committing firearm
violence, whether that violence is directed at others or at oneself,”
said Garen J. Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine, founding
director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and expert
on gun violence as a public health problem.
“In any given month,
an estimated 8.9 million to 11.7 million firearm owners binge drink.
Both binge drinking and heavy chronic drinking are more common among
firearm owners than in the general population. For men, there are as
many alcohol-associated deaths from firearm violence as from motor
vehicle crashes,” he said.