Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan M. Golding

Second Advisor

Dr. TK Logan


The present study investigated why communities differing in culture and resources are willing and able to implement gun confiscation as part of a protective order. Specifically, this study explored whether the perceived risk of intimate partner homicide and gun violence, benefits to engaging in gun confiscation, barriers to gun confiscation, community norms about guns, and community readiness to implement gun confiscation: (a) differ in urban and rural communities, (b) are perceived differently by victim service and justice system key professionals within urban and rural communities, and (c) are related to if a community is able and willing to consistently implement procedures that mandate gun confiscation of abusers as part of a protective order. Interviews, guided by an adapted guiding conceptual framework, were conducted with key professionals (N = 133) who work both in victim services and the justice system from a targeted urban community and four Appalachian communities in Kentucky.

First, implementing gun confiscation procedures to disarm abusers in rural communities does not seem likely or feasible compared to the urban community given the lower perceived risk-benefit of gun confiscation, importance of gun culture, and limited resources in the selected rural communities. Second, urban justice system professionals, in comparison to urban victim service professionals, reported fewer barriers to enforcing the gun confiscation policy and were more likely to downplay law enforcement limitations in the community and attribute the ineffectiveness of the gun confiscation policy to reasons outside their control. Third, the perceived risk of intimate partner gun violence was associated with consistently implementing in gun confiscation at the emergency protective order (short-term) level, and the perceived community approval of the policy was associated with engaging in consistent gun confiscation at the domestic violence order (longer-term) level. Fourth, both urban and rural professionals pointed out potential unintended negative consequences to implementing the gun confiscation policy, such as violation of second amendment rights and increased danger for victims who seek protective orders. The results have implications for developing more effective strategies for increasing a community’s ability and motivation to enforce gun policy that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)