I have a problem. I have a FB friend who appears to be your classic “damsel in distress,” right here in River City. She’s filed for divorce, but has not yet moved out. Her soon-to-be-ex is an ex-con, psych patient who refuses to take his anti-psychotic meds. He has a history of violence, domestic and otherwise. And, according to my FB friend, he just bought a gun at a pawn shop, and is carrying it on his person, 24/7. What’s wrong with THAT picture? So I see this train a’comin’, and I’m trying to figure out how to help, without endangering myself or my family. I got a bad feelin’ about this, Sundance…
Let’s face it. Most “gun control” advocates base their feelings/perspectives/opinions on two factors:
- Guns can introduce (more) violence into a given situation
- People can and do behave badly, and behaving badly with a gun is exponentially more dangerous than with no guns in the mix
I get it. But the answer that most gun grabbers come up with is “if we banned guns altogether, people couldn’t use them to do bad things.” Um. Yeah. And if we banned sunlight, nobody’d ever get skin cancer. And the idea of banning guns and banning sunlight have roughly the same odds of success.
So let’s for the nonce table the whole “if only guns were banned” B.S. and look at some practical issues for this case. I’m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV), but I’ve always understood that a convicted felon could NOT legally own a gun. Ditto for someone who has a documented history of mental illness and is currently on anti-psychotic drugs. So how did soon-to-be-ex-husband get his mitts on a gat? Let’s examine the situation a wee bit closer…
A lot of our “first line of defense” with the instant check system relies on people telling the truth, when they fill out the forms required to buy a gun. And we all know that people always tell the truth when they fill out forms, right? RUH-rho, Reorge! You see, if a gun dealer/pawn broker/gun show vendor has a customer fill out the form, they can’t be held legally responsible for the lies someone might tell on that form. Now of course, if you lie and get caught, they can lock your Alice B. Tookas up for a long while and throw away the key. But this doesn’t seem to deter a lot of bad guys. (Can’t imagine why. Oh, wait…because they’re bad guys.)
The “second line of defense” is the Spidey-sense of anybody who sells a gun. Most gun dealers I know are honorable, careful, and cautious. This makes sense from an Ayn Rand, “rational self-interest” point of view, if nothing else, because having the ATF all over them like white on rice is NOT a pleasant experience. Better to err on the side of caution when selling a gun. I’ve known dealers to flag an application and delay a sale, just so they can play C.Y.A. and avoid the potential forensic proctological exam by the ATF, should the gun sale result in a crime.
But not all gun dealers are perfect. Some just don’t have their bad-guy radar in working order. Some throw caution to the wind in favor of a quick sale. And sometimes, Murphy’s Law kicks in. And lemme tell ya, that “Law of Unintended Consequences” can be a bee-yatch.
So back to our story. The Damsel in Distress du Jour has a problem. She’s still living at home. Her soon-to-be-ex has some violent tendencies, a criminal record, a history of mental health issues, and is off his anti-psychotic meds. And he was able to buy a gun from a pawn shop. NOW what?
Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I suggested she get to a women’s shelter NOW. Take her dogs and leave them with friends or family. Get out whilst the gettin’ is good. Figure out the rest AFTER she gets to safety.
Now it’s occurred to me (as I’m sure it has to the TTAG Armed Intelligentsia) that she has some options here. Let’s review them:
- Get to a safe place and review her options.
- Get a gun herself.
- Get a CHL and a gun.
- Call the authorities and have the guy arrested.
- Wait for a disaster to occur and hope for the best.
Let’s examine these options, one by one, shall we?
Option #1 is (in my book, anyway) the smart, first move. Get out. Get safe. Get to thinkin’ about what to do next. Makes sense. Staying put seems like she’d just be asking for trouble.
Option #2 isn’t a bad thing, per se, but it’s no panacea. If it’s coupled with getting to a safe place, that is. If getting a gun is your go-to strategy and you’ve never handled a gun before, that’s probably the worst idea on the list, other than #5. Why? Because if you don’t know what you’re doing with a gun, you really shouldn’t own or carry one.
Option #3 presumes you have time – time to get all the paperwork done, time to get trained, time to practice. It’s not a practical option for someone in harm’s way.
Option #4 – I like this one, especially if coupled with Option #1. Get the guy behind bars, even on a charge of violation of parole, and she’d have some breathing room. (And it never hurts your position in a divorce case to have your spouse in jail for that sort of thing, if you know what I mean.)
Option #5 seems to be the go-to solution for most battered wives. I have no idea why. Stockholm Syndrome? Inertia? I don’t get it. But I’ve spoken to more than one woman who prefer being in the frying pan to getting the Hell out of the kitchen.
So that takes us back to me, standing on the right-of-way, watching the train, hurtling down the track, knowing full well that an accident is about to occur. Let’s be realistic here – all the gun control in the world is not gonna stop some violent spouse from doing bodily harm to a weaker partner if they are so inclined. (I speak from experience. My former business parter killed his wife by strangulation. No gun needed.)
The “system” the gun grabbers decry is largely ineffective. But it’s also the system we have to work with. So I’ll put it to you, the faithful members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia: what would you do to help? Anything I’m missing? Have I overlooked something obvious?