Rates of domestic violence (DV) gun homicide in Arizona consistently exceed the national average (Everytown, 2015). For perpetrators, firearms continue to be their primary weapon of choice in DV homicides (Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, 2015). In Arizona, civil DV protection orders (POs) help reduce the growing rates of gun homicide through firearm removal provisions. Questioning how firearms shape judicial decision-making, this thesis contributes to existing literature on firearms and DV by exploring how judges come to interpret findings of credible threat and which factors are associated with judicial decisions to grant firearm removal pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601. This thesis reveals how courts navigate competing concerns around victim safety and gun rights.
Secondary qualitative and quantitative data collected as part of Dr. Alesha Durfee’s National Institute of Justice Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Grant “Investigating the Impacts of Institutional and Contextual Factors on Protection Order Decision-Making” (Dr. Alesha Durfee, PI; Mesa Municipal Court and National Center for State Courts, co-PIs) (2015-IJ-CX-0013) are analyzed in this thesis.