In a comprehensive Health Affairs review of current U.S. background check policies, Wintemute identified nine problem areas and suggested specific ways to address them. In September he was one of several expert panelists who testified before the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in Washington, D.C., where he discussed background checks and the effect of gun violence on children.
Talking with patients about firearms
Most Californians find gun-safety conversations between health professionals and their patients appropriate when a patient has a gun and has a risk factor for firearm-related harm, to a Health Affairs study led by Rocco Pallin, M.P.H. The study was the first to ask about these conversations in specific risk scenarios. It also found most Californians, including gun owners, find interventions by health professionals appropriate when a patient with a gun is at acute injury risk.
Alcohol and gun violence
Rose Kagawa, Ph.D., M.P.H., and other researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine online that legal purchasers of handguns with a prior DUI conviction have a greater risk of a future arrest for a violent offense and for firearm-related violent crimes.
Gun purchasers with DUI convictions are also more likely to be arrested for intimate partner violence, UC Davis’ Hannah Laqueur, Ph.D., M.A., M.P.A., and coauthors reported in Health Affairs. Authors suggested that policies intended to regulate firearm ownership among people with a history of risky alcohol use may help reduce violence and harms.
Gun violence protection orders
A review of 21 case studies of individuals threatening mass violence suggested that extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs or “red flag orders”) may play a role in preventing mass shootings, VPRP researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. California enacted the nation’s first ERPO statute in 2016, and the UC Davis study sought to begin evaluating effectiveness.
Purchasing spikes linked to injuries
Spikes in handgun purchases after high-profile events can be linked to more firearm injuries, VPRP researchers reported in Injury Epidemiology, with spikes in 2012 after Sandy Hook and the presidential re-election linked to a 4% increase in California firearm injury. The study was the first to use a direct measure of handgun purchasing to link purchases with subsequent harm and to assess impact on firearm injury, authors said.
Patterns of gun ownership by motivation
A study of 429 firearm owners in Injury Prevention was the first to identify nuanced patterns of gun ownership. "We hope to inform the development of public health and safety efforts that are relevant to firearm owners’ varying motivations, choices and risk," said lead author Julia Schleimer, M.P.H.