Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Violent crimes could be prevented if felony charges were reduced less often, study finds

Date:
June 10, 2014
Source:
University of California - Davis Health System
Summary:
A study comparing violent misdemeanor convictions with their original criminal charges has found that subsequent violent crimes could be prevented if criminal charges were reduced less often during plea bargaining. The study re-analyzed data on 787 individuals under age 35 who had violent misdemeanor convictions and purchased handguns in California in 1989 or 1990. The goal was to assess the impact of reduced criminal charges on gun purchases and subsequent crime.

A UC Davis study comparing violent misdemeanor convictions with their original criminal charges has found that subsequent violent crimes could be prevented if criminal charges were reduced less often during plea bargaining.

Related Articles


The small, preliminary study, posted online June 9 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, re-analyzed data on 787 individuals under age 35 who had violent misdemeanor convictions and purchased handguns in California in 1989 or 1990. The goal was to assess the impact of reduced criminal charges on gun purchases and subsequent crime.

"Federal law prohibits felons from legally purchasing firearms, but individuals with violent misdemeanor convictions face no such restrictions in most of the country," said Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program. "Our study found that people with convictions for violent misdemeanor crimes who subsequently purchased handguns have very high rates of arrest for firearm-related or violent crimes later on. We need to consider the merits of prohibiting people convicted of violent misdemeanors from purchasing handguns and consider whether felony charges should be reduced less often."

For the study, Wintemute and colleague Mona Wright reviewed criminal records, linking violent misdemeanor convictions with their original criminal charges. Nearly 40 percent of the 787 individuals in the study had misdemeanor convictions resulting from felony charges. The overwhelming majority of records were for men (96.2 percent), with most (47.8 percent) having only one prior conviction of any type. Twenty-five percent had two prior convictions and 27 percent had three or more.

Within this group, Wintemute then identified those who purchased handguns and had California arrests within three years of the handgun purchase. Of the 699 records available for follow up, 34.5 percent of individuals were arrested -- 23.8 percent for violent or firearm-related crimes, such as homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, among others. Age, number of prior convictions and time since the most recent conviction were associated with risk of subsequent arrest. Risk for those originally charged with felonies was similar to that for those originally charged with misdemeanors.

"Nearly 25 percent of subjects who had purchased a handgun were charged with a new firearm-related or violent crime within three years of purchasing a handgun," said Wintemute. In urban counties, the majority (95 percent) of convictions for crimes charged as violent felonies are arrived at through plea bargaining, which commonly involves a reduction from felony to misdemeanor charges. We may be missing an opportunity to prevent those most at risk for committing violent crimes from legally purchasing firearms."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mona A. Wright, Garen J. Wintemute. Firearm Prohibition for Persons Convicted of Violent Crimes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.04.008

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis Health System. "Violent crimes could be prevented if felony charges were reduced less often, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205528.htm>.
University of California - Davis Health System. (2014, June 10). Violent crimes could be prevented if felony charges were reduced less often, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205528.htm
University of California - Davis Health System. "Violent crimes could be prevented if felony charges were reduced less often, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205528.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins