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Michigan research finds firearm restrictions can reduce homicides in domestic violence situations

Breaking down new study over domestic violence offenders, firearms
Breaking down new study over domestic violence offenders, firearms 02:09

(CBS DETROIT) - Research from the University of Michigan Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention suggests that firearm restriction laws could save lives in domestic violence situations.

While gun control laws can polarize, researcher April Zeoli said her research isn't political.

"I want to prevent homicides. If these firearm laws aren't the way to do that, then I'm going to move on to a different strategy," said Zeoli, who is the policy core director for the Institute For Firearm Injury Prevention.

Zeoli has been studying laws that prevent people under domestic violence restraining orders from having firearms, and if those laws actually work to reduce homicides.

"We hear a lot, 'If people can't get guns, they're just going to commit homicide in a different way, so these laws are pointless.' But that's not what the research finds."

She said the research found that states that prevent domestic violence offenders from having guns reduce the total number of intimate partner homicides, not just homicides with guns. 

"These laws actually save lives," said Zeoli.

She said one of the laws that helped most was allowing gun restrictions to apply to dating partners, not just current or former spouses. Michigan already has that law in place, but does not have another law she found saved lives, which is relinquishment provisions.

"Part of the law says that a judge can order the person who is now legally prohibited from having a gun, to relinquish the guns that they already have, there's a decrease in intimate partner homicide. Michigan does not have that law."

Zeoli said the findings can help lawmakers create policy, and appropriate policy could help protect families and law enforcement. 

"Domestic violence calls can be really dangerous for officers, especially when there are guns," she said.

Zeoli added that the laws don't work alone, and implementation and enforcement are needed to save lives. 

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