TODAY’S EDITORIAL in the Wilmington News-Journal endorsed SB 83, a bill that will protect domestic abuse victims from gun violence.
EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATOR to urge a vote in favor of this common sense legislation.
The old Hollywood and tabloid newspaper term “crime of passion” may seem quaintly out of date. But there is nothing quaint about passions so out of control that they lead to violence. And, unfortunately, domestic violence is far from out of date.
All too often newspaper headlines tell the news of current and former spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners and even casual acquaintances killing or seriously injuring the person who has been the object of their hatred. It is, of course, a disgrace. However, the victims of abuse and the rest of society are beginning to fight back.
More must be done. One of the commonsense answers is to disarm the aggressors in domestic violence incidents.
More must be done. One of the commonsense answers is to disarm the aggressors in domestic violence incidents. There is a reason courts issue protection orders. Society has come to believe that the person being protected is under a threat.
Already the police, in assessing a violence threat, ask a victim if the partner or ex-partner threatened the victim with a gun. If the answer is yes, the threat is considered real. Courts will intervene after a hearing that protects the rights of all parties. The courts will demand the surrender of a weapon. However, there are lapses in when and how quickly it is done. The procedures for turning in the weapon also need to be codified.
Senate Bill 83, now coming before the Delaware General Assembly, would close these loopholes.
Senate Bill 83, now coming before the Delaware General Assembly, would close these loopholes. The person who threatened a partner now will have to hand over the gun to authorities and show proof that he or she did it. The firearm would be out of the individual’s control during the life of the protection order. The victim, on proving the immediacy of a threat, could get protection.
The bill would expand the legal definition of the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to more readily reflect the realities of modern life. The term would now include substantive dating relationships and people who have cohabited at the time of the offense or within 5 years prior to the offense.
The bill also would prohibit an abuser from possessing a firearm or buying one while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse order.
Too many incidents are fueled by rage or substance abuse. Why allow someone out of control to have easy access to a firearm?
Of course, the bill will not be able to work miracles. It will not be able to stop all such crimes, all out-of-control actions. No bill could do that. But it will make it harder, less convenient for some rampaging abuser to grab a firearm and use it. How many lives would such a bill save? Many? A few? One? Even if it is just one, the bill is worth passing.
As former State Sen. Liane Sorenson wrote, “Keeping guns away from people who are guilty of domestic abuse makes common sense. It won’t affect our Second Amendment rights, but it will help make our families and communities safer.”