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New research finds federal bans are not keeping domestic abusers - or mass shooters - from firearms

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New research out of Michigan State University looked at the link between mass shooters and domestic violence.

Researchers behind the study say news coverage following a mass shooting often links shooters to domestic violence.

Researcher April Zeoli said in the years her study covered… 2014 to 2017... roughly 38% of mass shooters had a history of domestic abuse.

“Our research wanted to look at how many have a history of domestic violence,” she said. “How prevalent is domestic violence really for the full population of mass shooters instead of just the population we hear about on the news.”

On the federal level, people convicted of any felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor cannot legally purchase a gun.

Zeoli said many of the shooters her study researched didn’t move far enough through the criminal justice system for those restrictions to apply. She said there were a number of reasons -  sometimes law enforcement didn’t become involved in the case ... or the charges filed didn’t meet requirements for a ban.

“So if they haven't been convicted of a felony crime, or have any other firearm restrictions, than an extreme risk protection order might be the best way to temporarily remove access to firearms for those people.”

Extreme risk protection orders are laws that allow law enforcement to remove firearms from a person for up to a year if they have been making threats.

But, she said, the bans meant to keep domestic abusers from guns also have a problem of loopholes.

“If you’re convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor crime but you’re only dating your victim, you haven’t married them or had a child with them you don’t live with them, you won’t get the firearm restriction.”

Ultimately, Zeoli said she thinks both extreme risk protection orders and tightening federal domestic abuse laws may ultimately be important for reducing mass shootings.