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Gun owners with drunk driving records at risk for violent crime

A recent study published by University of California Violence Prevention Program suggests that legal gun owners with drunk driving convictions may be at a higher risk for committing a violent crime than others that do not have any criminal conviction at all. The study's authors argue that this research, which was first made public on Jan. 30, 2017, could prove valuable in identifying ways to curb violent crime in this country.

Authors of prior studies previously discovered that there was a strong correlation between an individual's heavy alcohol use and that individual's violent firearm use. Researchers in this case, however, are the first to forward the idea that alcohol-related convictions among registered gun owners contributes to a higher risk that the individual will become involved in committing a violent crime.

As for how enhanced the threat of violent crime is among legal gun owners with prior driving under the influence (DUI) convictions; the study's researchers argue that this population's risk is four or five times the amount of those with no prior alcohol-related convictions. Researchers argue that the number of DUI convictions does not seem to pose any greater risk than a single one.

In order to reach these conclusions, researchers sampled gun license holders from 1991 when California's 15-day waiting period was first instituted. They found that among those arrested for previous alcohol-related charges, 32.8 percent were later arrested for a violent crime that involved the use of a firearm. Among those who had no prior criminal convictions, only 5.7 were ultimately arrested for a violent crime.

What's more, of that 32.8 percent that ultimately were charged with violent offenses, 16 percent of the cases involved the commission of a crime such as rape, aggravated assault, murder or robbery. This compares to just 2.7 percent of those who had no prior convictions.

Given the fact that researchers have been able to show a correlation between a DUI conviction and a propensity to commit a violent crime; it shouldn't come as a surprise if lawmakers decide to begin punishing alcohol-related crimes more harshly. If you've been charged with either a DUI or some other type of violence offense, then an Orange County criminal defense attorney can advise you in your legal case.

Source: University of California Davis Health, "Prior DUIs predict future criminal activity among firearm owners," accessed June 27, 2017

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