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Hold Your Fire: Did the 1996 Federal Gun Control Act Expansion Reduce Domestic Homicides?

Article first published online: July 15, 2015

Kerri M. Raissian, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Connecticut

What was the genesis of the idea for your research/paper?

Prior to pursuing my PhD and going into academia, I worked with domestic violence victims. Advocates always hailed gun restrictions as lifesaving pieces of legislation, but victims were often still fearful that a gun restriction would not keep them safe from gun violence. After reading the Hayes decision I realized there was a way to measure the impact of the Gun Control Act Expansion on 1996, and that this would help shed light on the above question.

What is the main conclusion that becomes evident from your research? (Or, what is your main takeaway?)

The GCA expansion reduces gun related homicides among female intimate victims (spouses and ex-spouses) and male children (sons and stepsons).

What are some of the more interesting or surprising findings/conclusions did you find in the process of bringing this together?

The GCA expansion did indeed reduce gun related homicides. There was no uptick in non-gun related homicides.

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Author's Bio


Kerri M. Raissian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut.  She was a Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being and completed her doctoral degree in Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2013. Her research focuses on child and family policy with an emphasis on understanding how policies affect fertility, family formation, and family violence.

Raissian’s research is interdisciplinary and draws on principles from program evaluation, economic demography, and applied microeconomics.  In addition her research is informed by her 10 years of experience working with children and families in the public and non-profit sectors. She has published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Child Maltreatment, Population Research and Policy Review, the European Journal of Aging, among others.

She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. At UConn, she teaches the capstone course for MPA students and financial management for public organizations; she recently received a teaching commendation for outstanding cumulative teaching evaluations from the University of Connecticut’s Provost’s Office.