Reporter Michael Luo, of The New York Times reports that In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection. He sets things up by presenting a sympathetic victim and her horrifying story:
Early last year, after a series of frightening encounters with her former husband, Stephanie Holten went to court in Spokane, Wash., to obtain a temporary order for protection.
… In neat block letters she wrote, “ He owns guns, I am scared.” …
The judge’s order prohibited Mr. [Corey] Holten from going within two blocks of his former wife’s home … What it did not require him to do was surrender his guns.
About 12 hours after he was served with the order, Mr. Holten was lying in wait when his former wife returned home from a date with their two children in tow. Armed with a small semiautomatic rifle bought several months before, he stepped out of his car and thrust the muzzle into her chest. He directed her inside the house, yelling that he was going to kill her.
Now before jumping on the “OMG they should have taken his guns!” bandwagon, let’s do something that the antis hate; let’s stop and think for a moment. Here we have a man who violated his restraining order by coming to his ex’s house, planning to murder her in front of their children. And yet does Luo seriously expect us to believe that if only the judge had ordered Corey to turn in his guns, none of this would have happened?
Yep, that is precisely what he wants us to believe:
For all its rage and terror, the episode might well have been prevented. Had Mr. Holten lived in one of a handful of states, the protection order would have forced him to relinquish his firearms.
Indeed this episode might have been prevented if only Stephanie had gotten herself a gun. I don’t normally make a habit of blaming the victim, but if she truly believed (as she stated in her affidavit) that her husband posed a deadly threat, where the heck was her gun?
According to the story she managed to dial 9-1-1 on her cellphone during this ambush, so I find it hard to believe she wouldn’t have had a chance to end the threat to herself and her family if only she had taken responsibility for their safety instead of relying on the overworked and undermanned police department.
So whose fault is it that Corey had a gun? You guessed it…the NRA’s:
But that is not the case in Washington and most of the country, in large part because of the influence of the National Rifle Association and its allies.
Advocates for domestic violence victims have long called for stricter laws governing firearms and protective orders.
I’ll set aside the question of how many of those supposed DV advocates agitating for more gun control are actually antis dancing in the blood of different victims and point out that temporary restraining orderss (like the one issued to Stephanie in this case) are often granted without informing the person against whom the order is granted or allowing them the chance to rebut the allegations.
They’re frequently an emergency measure to be used until the court can hear from both sides. The idea that the courts should be able to strip people of their rights on a mere allegation of wrongdoing would be greeted with howls of protests for anything but Second Amendment rights.
But Luo explains why it’s really important to strip people of their rights at the slightest accusation:
Their argument is rooted in a grim statistic: when women die at the hand of an intimate partner, that hand is more often than not holding a gun.
Well, yeah, the majority of murders (about 2/3) are committed with firearms regardless of whether it is an “intimate partner” a drug dealer or a gang-banger whose hand is holding the gun.
In these most volatile of human dramas, they contend, the right to bear arms must give ground to the need to protect a woman’s life.
Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. Are you saying that only women are subject to domestic violence? How sexist! As for the right to bear arms being required to “give ground” to protect lives? First and foremost, the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility. Second, even if that were not so, the fact of the matter is that more than twice as many lives are saved in defensive gun uses annually than are lost in criminal gun uses. Third, if Stephanie had been carrying a gun to protect herself and her family, odds are she would not have wound up at the mercy of her ex, cowering, hysterical, on the floor.
But Mikey gives away the real agenda a couple of paragraphs later:
In statehouses across the country, though, the N.R.A. and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations. …
That resistance is being tested anew in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., as proposals on the mandatory surrender of firearms are included in gun control legislation being debated in several states.
Since the Newtown shooting had absolutely nothing to do with domestic violence, it’s obvious that the real agenda here has nothing to do with preventing domestic violence. Instead, the antis are just taking advantage of the latest atrocity in order to push their agenda.
Luo drones on for several pages, but it’s all basically rehashing the same stories in different states. In some of them, intimate partners were killed. In others they were assaulted, but the common thread running throughout is not that someone “had access to a gun”; instead, the common thread is that someone ignored restraining orders, laws, mores and societal conventions and committed murder (or tried to). One more law isn’t going to stop them, nor will closing this loophole or that exemption. The fact of the matter is that bad people sometimes do bad things, and those of us who don’t do bad things shouldn’t be punished for those who did.