Firearm violence frequently involves alcohol, but there are no studies of misuse of alcohol and risk for future violence among firearm owners. We examined the association between prior convictions for alcohol-related crimes, chiefly driving under the influence (DUI), and risk of subsequent arrest among 4066 individuals who purchased handguns in California in 1977. During follow-up through 1991, 32.8% of those with prior alcohol-related convictions and 5.7% of those with no prior criminal history were arrested for a violent or firearm-related crime; 15.9% and 2.7%, respectively, were arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault. Prior alcohol-related convictions were associated with a fourfold to fivefold increase in risk of incident arrest for a violent or firearm-related crime, a relative increase greater than that seen for age, sex or prior violence. Prior convictions for alcohol-related crime may be an important predictor of risk for future criminal activity among purchasers of firearms.
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Contributors GJW made substantial contributions to study conception and design, acquisition of data, and analysis and interpretation of findings, drafted the manuscript and obtained funding for the study. MAW made substantial contributions to study conception and design, acquisition of data, and analysis and interpretation of findings and reviewed the draft manuscript critically for important intellectual content. AC-C and AS made substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of findings and reviewed the draft manuscript critically for important intellectual content. MC made substantial contributions to study conception and design and analysis and interpretation of findings, and reviewed the draft manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors gave final approval of the version to be published.
Funding Support for this analysis was provided by the New Venture Fund (NVF FSF UC Davis GA 03212014) and The California Wellness Foundation (2014-255). Support for the original study was provided by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (R49/CCR903549) and The California Wellness Foundation (97-00149). The funders played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Human subjects This secondary analysis of de-identified data was determined by the UC Davis Institutional Review Board not to be human subjects research (IRB ID 575358-1). The original study was approved by the UC Davis Human Subjects Review Committee.