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April M. Zeoli - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

April M. Zeoli April M. Zeoli

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice | Michigan State University


An expert on domestic violence, homicide, gun policy, and the intersection of public health and criminal justice






April Zeoli - Risks of and Policy Interventions for Firearm Use in Intimate Partner Violence Modeling the Movement of Homicide by Type to Inform Public Health Prevention Efforts: Video Abstract The Patchwork of State Laws on Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Protective Orders



April. Zeoli conducts interdisciplinary research, with a goal of bringing together the fields of public health and criminology and criminal justice. Her main fields of investigation are the prevention of gun violence, intimate partner violence, and homicide through the use of policy and law. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on policy interventions for firearm use in intimate partner violence. Broadly, she studies the role of firearms in intimate partner violence and homicide, as well as the civil and criminal justice systems responses to intimate partner violence. Her research focuses on legal firearm restrictions for domestic violence abusers and their impact on intimate partner homicide, the implementation of those firearm restrictions, and the criminal histories of intimate partner homicide offenders with a focus on missed intervention opportunities.

Zeoli is on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Injury Prevention, and serves as the research expert for the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center. She has also served as an expert commentator on intimate partner homicide, guns, and domestic violence-related mass shootings for news organizations such as NPR, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and Newsweek. She will be speaking at the TEDMED 2018 conference on intimate partner violence and guns.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Policy Analysis


Domestic Violence

Gun Policy

Education (3)

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Ph.D., Health and Public Policy 2007

University of Michigan: M.P.H., Public Health 2000

University of Michigan: B.A., Science & Arts 1998

Affiliations (3)

  • National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center (Stee ring Committee Member), 2016 - present
  • Advisory Council to the Capital Area Domestic and Sexual Violence Coordinating Council’s Court Watch program (Member), 2014 - 2015
  • Ann Arbor Mayor’s Task Force on Increasing Safety for Women (Board Member), 2000 - 2002

News (3)

MSU researcher gets $1.3M grant to study gun violence

WLNS  online


A criminal justice researcher at Michigan State University has landed a $1.3 million grant to investigate a new legal tool designed to reduce the risk of gun violence. The two-year grant from the National Collaborative for Gun Violence Research will investigate “extreme risk protection orders,” which temporarily ban someone from buying guns if they are considered to be at a high risk for suicide. MSU Associate Professor April Zeoli will study different facets of those laws across six states and determine whether they actually reduce suicide risk in a population. She says, because those orders are so new, there is very little research on their effectiveness.

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Radio Replay: Crime As A Disease 48:31 DOWNLOAD

NPR  online


It has become an old, sad story in America. First, the murder, sparked by some trivial dispute. Next, solutions. Maybe it's gun control, or harsher punishments or extra policing. And then it happens again. The same events fill the news, and the same proposed solutions.

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The Link Between Domestic Violence And Mass Shootings

WBUR 90.9  online


Devin Patrick Kelley, who opened fire and killed 26 people inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, had a documented history of domestic violence. He’s not the only mass shooter with that profile. The Pulse night club shooter. The Boston Marathon bomber. Even the Sandy Hook killer had violent abusive pasts at home before their rampages. This hour, On Point: we’ll look at the link between domestic violence and mass shootings.

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Journal Articles (6)

Analysis of the strength of legal firearms restrictions for perpetrators of domestic violence and their association with intimate partner homicide

Am J Epidemiol

April M Zeoli, Alexander McCourt, Shani Buggs, Shannon Frattaroli, David Lilley, Daniel W Webster

2017 This research advances the field by estimating the association of IPH with the following: potentially important yet unstudied expansions of the DVRO firearm restrictions, firearms laws not specific to domestic violence that may restrict domestic violence offenders' firearm access, and firearm laws for, to our knowledge, the longest period of any published study (34 years). On the basis of our findings, we considered temporal trends long before most of the laws were first introduced and estimated the laws' effects over longer periods than they have been in place. We tested 3 main hypotheses...

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Removing Firearms From Those Prohibited From Possession by Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: A Survey and Analysis of State Laws

Trauma, Violence & Abuse

April M. Zeoli, et al.

2017 Under federal and many state laws, persons under domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs) are prohibited from possession of firearms. Using multiple sources and a Lexis Nexis search, we developed a list of state laws pertaining to the relinquishment or removal of firearms from persons prohibited from possession by DVROs. After downloading the text of each law, we conducted a legal analysis to enumerate provisions of the laws specifying implementation. We found 49 laws in 29 states and Washington, DC. The laws were conceptualized as instructions to the court, the respondent, and law enforcement.

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Risks and Targeted Interventions: Firearms in Intimate Partner Violence

Epidemiologic Reviews

April M. Zeoli, Rebecca Malinski, Brandon Turchan

2016 The use of firearms in intimate partner violence (IPV) is widely recognized as an important public health threat. However, what we know about the risks of firearm access on IPV outcomes is limited. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review to determine the state of knowledge on 1) the risks of firearm access and use in IPV and 2) the effectiveness of interventions designed specifically to reduce firearm violence in intimate relationships. Only studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals from 1990 through 2014 were included.

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Modeling the Movement of Homicide by Type to Inform Public Health Prevention Efforts


April M. Zeoli, Jesenia M. Pizarro, and Chris Meld

2015 We modeled the spatiotemporal movement of hotspot clusters of homicide by motive in Newark, New Jersey, to investigate whether different homicide types have different patterns of clustering and movement.

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Homicide as Infectious Disease: Using Public Health Methods to Investigate the Diffusion of Homicide

Justice Quarterly

April M. Zeoli, Jesenia M. Pizzaro Sue C. Grady & Christopher Melde

2012 This study examined the spatial and temporal movement of homicide in Newark, New Jersey from January 1982 through September 2008. We hypothesized that homicide would diffuse in a similar process to an infectious disease with firearms and gangs operating as the infectious agents. A total of 2,366 homicide incidents were analyzed using SaTScan v.9.0, a cluster detection software. The results revealed spatio-temporal patterns of expansion diffusion: overall, firearm and gang homicide clusters in Newark evolved from a common area in the center of the city and spread southward and westward over the course of two decades.

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Effects of domestic violence policies, alcohol taxes and police staffing levels on intimate partner homicide in large US cities

BMJ Journals

April M. Zeoli & Daniel W. Webster

2010 The research uses a multiple time-series design to examine the effects of statutes aimed at restricting access to firearms for perpetrators of domestic violence, allowing or mandating arrest for violators of domestic violence restraining orders (DVROs), beer excise taxes, and police staffing levels on IPH in 46 of the largest US cities from 1979 to 2003. Both total IPH and IPH committed with a firearm are analysed. Generalised estimating equations using a Poisson distribution are used to regress IPH on the policies and potential confounders.

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