A Gun Bill Republicans Shouldn’t Have Opposed?

In a chilling story story, the New York Times’ Michael Luo discusses some of the cases that underscored the need for one of the gun safety bills that recently passed the Colorado Senate and expected to pass the House soon: Senate Bill 197, restricting access to guns in cases of domestic violence. Reader discretion advised:

Her former husband, Corey Holten, threatened to put a gun in her mouth and pull the trigger, she wrote in her petition. He also said he would “put a cap” in her if her new boyfriend “gets near my kids.” In neat block letters she wrote, “ He owns guns, I am scared.”

The judge’s order prohibited Mr. Holten from going within two blocks of his former wife’s home and imposed a number of other restrictions. 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.

Stephanie Holten didn’t die that evening, but the story tells of women in this situation who have died–and could have been saved, if they had lived in a state that requires those subject to a protection order to prevent domestic violence surrender their guns.

Advocates for domestic violence victims have long called for stricter laws governing firearms and protective orders. 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…

By analyzing a number of Washington databases, The New York Times identified scores of gun-related crimes committed by people subject to recently issued civil protection orders, including murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. In at least five instances over the last decade, women were shot to death less than a month after obtaining protection orders. In at least a half-dozen other killings, the victim was not the person being protected but someone else. There were dozens of gun-related assaults like the one Ms. Holten endured.

It is this situation–a violent abuser with guns slapped with a restraining order–that prompted Senate Bill 197, which requires guns to be surrendered if a protective order to prevent domestic violence is issued.

Intimate partner homicides account for nearly half the women killed every year, according to federal statistics. More than half of these women are killed with a firearm. And a significant percentage were likely to have obtained protection orders against their eventual killers. (A 2001 study, published in Criminal Justice Review, of women slain by intimate partners in 10 cities put that number at one in five.)

…The issue has also gained traction in Colorado — a traditional power base for the gun lobby but also the state where 12 people were shot to death and 58 were wounded at a movie theater in July. A measure that would require the surrender of firearms in protection-order cases is part of a gun-control package passed by the State Senate last week, though not a single Republican voted for it. [Pols emphasis]

We’ll leave it to our readers to delve further into the details. The requirement to surrender guns is for the duration of the protective order: if the person subject to the order is not convicted of domestic violence, they get their rights back. In terms of the politics, we can say this without reservation: the campaign mailers that Democrats and their allies will be able to put together based on GOP votes against this bill are going to hurt. Much has been made in Republican circles about the message opportunity the push for gun safety legislation this year has given them.

We’re here to tell you, that’s going to cut both ways.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ArapaGOP says:

    Wrong again, Colorado Pols!

    SB-197 is a bad bill. How can you strip someone's constitutional rights from them without a conviction? Innocent until proven guilty is a concept the voters understand very well, thank you. Enough of your Bloomberg scare tactics.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.