Intimate partner femicide in context: An examination of firearm type across the rural/urban divide

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Ohio State University. Libraries

Research Projects

Organizational Units

Journal Issue


Previous research on intimate partner homicide (IPH) has established that intimate partner homicides are overwhelmingly committed with a firearm. Emerging research suggests the risk of partner violence turning lethal in rural America is often exacerbated by a higher prevalence of firearm ownership, as well as the limited availability of victim support services, economic disadvantages, and access to healthcare services. Given that IPH represents one of the most common types of homicide in rural areas, understanding the prevalence and associated risk and protective factors presents important policy implications. Using county-level data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System for the years 2015-2016 and controlling for well-established structural correlates of IPH, this research examines the nature and prevalence of IPH across county context. We investigate whether leading predictors of IPH (firearm access, domestic violence support services, and economic disadvantage) are associated with firearm and non-firearm IPH incidents equally and whether these relationships hold when comparing rural and urban counties. We further examine the unique dynamics of firearm specific IPH, including a comparison of IPH incidents committed with handguns versus long guns, given their differing prevalence and cultural context in rural and urban communities. Findings reveal important differences across the rural-urban divide and weapon types. Implications for research and policy are discussed.



homicide, rural, intimate partner, femicide, guns, economic disadvantage


International Journal of Rural Criminology, v5, n2 (September, 2020), p. 276-299