Alcohol Use and Firearm Violence

Charles C. Branas, Seunghoon Han, Douglas J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the misuse of firearms is necessary to the occurrence of firearm violence, there are other contributing factors beyond simply firearms themselves that might also be modified to prevent firearm violence. Alcohol is one such key modifiable factor. To explore this, we undertook a 40-year (1975-2014) systematic literature review with meta-analysis. One large group of studies showed that over one third of firearm violence decedents had acutely consumed alcohol and over one fourth had heavily consumed alcohol prior to their deaths. Another large group of studies showed that alcohol was significantly associated with firearm use as a suicide means. Two controlled studies showed that gun injury after drinking, especially heavy drinking, was statistically significant among self-inflicted firearm injury victims. A small group of studies investigated the intersection of alcohol and firearms laws and alcohol outlets and firearm violence. One of these controlled studies found that off-premise outlets selling takeout alcohol were significantly associated with firearm assault. Additional controlled, population-level risk factor and intervention studies, including randomized trials of which only 1 was identified, are needed. Policies that rezone off-premise alcohol outlets, proscribe blood alcohol levels and enhance penalties for carrying or using firearms while intoxicated, and consider prior drunk driving convictions as a more precise criterion for disqualifying persons from the purchase or possession of firearms deserve further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-45
Number of pages14
JournalEpidemiologic Reviews
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • firearm
  • gun ownership
  • gun possession
  • homicide
  • injury
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Alcohol Use and Firearm Violence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this