Although gun laws that disarm abusers following a protective order may reduce the risk of fatalities, this procedure is not uniform. To better understand this process, we adapted the health belief model to investigate how key community professionals’ evaluations of the risk of intimate partner homicide/gun violence, benefits to engaging in firearm relinquishment, and community barriers to implementing firearm relinquishment are associated with the perceived likelihood of communities implementing firearm relinquishment at the short-term and long-term levels.
Key professionals (N = 133) working in victim services and the justice system from one urban and four rural communities participated in structured key informant interviews. We used a purposeful sampling procedure to target professionals from key community agencies, followed by snowball sampling to maximize the response rate.
The perceived risk of intimate partner gun violence in the community and community deprioritization of gun-related intimate partner violence were more relevant to the perceived likelihood of implementing firearm relinquishment at an immediate, emergency stage. Participants’ perceived disapproval of the community to implement the firearm relinquishment policy was more relevant to the perceived likelihood of implementing firearm relinquishment at a more permanent, long-term stage.
The results have implications for developing strategies that motivate different types of communities to effectively implement policies that disarm abusers. Given the strong presence of gun culture in the United States, it may be worthwhile to frame efforts around family violence prevention and community safety while avoiding the use of phrases such as gun control. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)