Monday, February 8, 2016

Identifying Armed Respondents to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Recovering Their Firearms: Process Evaluation of an Initiative in California

We evaluated a law enforcement initiative to screen respondents to domestic violence restraining orders for firearm ownership or possession and recover their firearms.

The initiative was implemented in San Mateo and Butte counties in California from 2007 through 2010. We used descriptive methods to evaluate the screening process and recovery effort in each county, relying on records for individual cases.

Screening relied on an archive of firearm transactions, court records, and petitioner interviews; no single source was adequate. Screening linked 525 respondents (17.7%) in San Mateo County to firearms; 405 firearms were recovered from 119 (22.7%) of them. In Butte County, 88 (31.1%) respondents were linked to firearms; 260 firearms were recovered from 45 (51.1%) of them. Nonrecovery occurred most often when orders were never served or respondents denied having firearms. There were no reports of serious violence or injury.

Recovering firearms from persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders is possible. We have identified design and implementation changes that may improve the screening process and the yield from recovery efforts. Larger implementation trials are needed.

Below:  Restraining orders processed, firearms identified, and source of firearms information in (a) San Mateo County, CA, May 2007–June 2010, and (b) Butte County, CA, April 2008–June 2010

Respondents With Firearms Recovered by Source of Information Linking Them to Firearms and Method of Service: San Mateo County, CA, May 2007–June 2010; Butte County, CA, April 2008–June 2010
Respondents With Firearms Recovered

CharacteristicsSan Mateo County, No. (%)aButte County, No. (%)a
Source of information
 Automated Firearms System only42 (40.8)8 (44.4)
 AFS and declaration17 (89.7)7 (77.8)
 AFS and contact with petitioner17 (48.6)4 (57.1)
 Petitioner declaration only17 (17.7)6 (35.3)
 Declaration and contact with petitioner0 (0.0)1 (25.0)
 Contact with petitioner only0 (0.0)1 (12.5)
 All 3 sources15 (88.2)5 (62.5)
 Other11 (57.9)13 (100.0)
Method of serviceb
 Civil deputies43 (44.3)NA
 Detectives or in court19 (20.4)NA
 Private party14 (63.6)NA
 Unrecorded43 (28.9)NA
Note. AFS = Automated Firearms System; NA = not available. Data are limited to cases in which orders were served.
aPercentages are of all respondents who were linked to firearms by the specified source of information or had restraining orders served by the specified method.

Full article at:

By:  Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH,corresponding author Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH, Barbara E. ClaireKatherine A. Vittes, PhD, MPH, and Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH
Garen J. Wintemute and Barbara E. Claire are with the Violence Prevention Research Program, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento. Shannon Frattaroli, Katherine A. Vittes, and Daniel W. Webster are with the Center for Gun Policy and Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Correspondence should be sent to Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH, Violence Prevention Research Program, UC Davis Medical Center, 2315 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95817 (e-mail: ude.sivadcu@etumetniwjg). Reprints can be ordered at by clicking the “Reprints” link.
G. J. Wintemute drafted the article, obtained funding, and supervised the study. G. J. Wintemute, S. Frattaroli, and B. E. Claire acquired the data. B. E. Claire performed administrative, technical, and material support. All authors designed and developed the study, analyzed and interpreted the data, and critically revised the article for important intellectual content.

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