Should the Right to Bear Arms Extend to Men Who Threaten Violence against Family Members?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Throughout most of the United States, a restraining order is not enough to force gun owners to relinquish their firearms to authorities, even if they have threatened to shoot the person seeking protection.


This reality has been the product of lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which argues that only a felony conviction should warrant taking away someone’s gun.


Advocates for domestic violence victims reject the NRA’s position and have fought for tougher laws governing firearms and protective orders. They say statistics show that when women are killed by a husband or a boyfriend, more often than not the culprit uses a gun. According to figures from 2005, 57.4% of women killed by a boyfriend, spouse, or ex-spouse were shot to death.


In 1994, Congress passed a bill that forbids most people who are the subject of a permanent protective order from possessing firearms. However the law is rarely enforced, with less than 50 cases in all of 2012.


This means that for practical purposes, each state makes its own laws. Currently, only a handful of states require gun owners to give up their weapons if a restraining order is placed on them by the courts.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection (by Michael Luo, New York Times)

State Considers Taking Shot at Disarming Thousands Who Own Guns Illegally (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Women with Protective Orders Report Failure to Remove Firearms from Their Abusive Partners: Results from an Exploratory Study (by Daniel W. Webster, Shannon Frattaroli, Jon S. Vernick, Chris O’Sullivan, Janice Roehl and Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Journal of Women’s Health)


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