Kentucky law: Don’t take guns from abusers, just arm the victims

In the sentiment of “arm everybody and, if it goes wrong, let god sort it out,” Kentucky has decided on a smashing new law, taking effect this week, which allegedly beefs up womens’ self-protection against batterers by allowing abusers and stalkers to keep their guns, but making it easier for battered women to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  As Mother Jones reported,

“Kentucky has some of the most lax gun restrictions for domestic violence perps in the nation, and between 2003 and 2012, a greater percentage of intimate-partner homicides in Kentucky were committed with guns than anywhere else in the country. A number of states prohibit certain domestic abusers from possessing guns with laws that bar convicted stalkers, people subject to temporary restraining orders, or dating partners convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Kentucky does none of that . . . The new Kentucky law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, doesn’t stop abusers from possessing a firearm. But it makes it easier for victims to carry a weapon. Under the law, anyone granted an emergency protective order or who obtains a domestic violence order can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, temporarily waiving the requirement to complete firearms training. (The person still has to complete a background check.) This means a victim (or someone threatened with domestic violence) can obtain a concealed carry permit in as little as 24 hours.

The key concept to this Kentucky law seems to be that under no circumstances should we remove guns from the hands of any citizen, no matter how vile and dangerous that citizen may be – and in the case of abusive men, the state has sent them a clear message:  We have no interest in keeping guns out of your hands, but we’re going to arm your victims, kind of even things out.

Except it doesn’t.  When guns are involved in domestic violence situations, they’re five times more likely to turn into murder.  The conservative mantra has been that a gun levels the playing field, but, as Media Matters reported, “research from Mayors Against Illegal Guns . . . found that the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation increased the risk of homicide by 500 percent for women.”  And as The Atlantic noted, “Not a single study to date has shown that the risk of any crime including burglary, robbery, home invasion, or spousal abuse against a female is decreased through gun ownership.”  

As part of the law, the victim has to take firearms training within 45 days of receiving the permit – which means, conceivably, that she has no prior training in firearms, and which means, conceivably, that she could end up (1) shooting herself, (2) having the gun taken away from her by her abuser and turned on her, (3) fumbling with a gun while a madman runs amok, or (4) all of the above.

How much simpler it would be if Kentucky would just deal with the crime of violence against women and disarm all the men responsible for perpetrating it.  It stands to reason that if you have a vicious dog, you simply get rid of it, have it put down; in Kentucky, apparently, they’d encourage you to keep the dog and wear gauntlets.  If you have a boss who throws things at you, it stands to reason that you’d quit the job and report him or her to the local labor board; in Kentucky, apparently, they’d offer you chicken wire to build a cage for protection, and give you rocks to hurl back.

This notion that putting a gun in everybody’s hand will solve the problem of life-threatening events is ludicrous.  If you’re an abuser in Kentucky, you can go on your merry way with your gun, and watch in amusement as your victim scrambles around, jumps through hoops, and spends a bunch of money to thwart you – because you know that her weapon will likely end up in your hands, pointed straight at her.

So, to summarize, in Kentucky, a victim of domestic violence has to go get a protective order, and, if she gets one, go through a background check for the temporary concealed carry permit (and the $60 fee doesn’t appear to be waived for the victim), within 45 days pay another $75 to $100 to take a firearm training course, and then – of course – shell out a few hundred bucks to buy a gun if she doesn’t happen to have one laying around.  And all of this – all these hoops and complications and hefty cash outlay for the victim – is simply so Kentucky can avoid stripping a batterer of his right to possess a weapon, even though federal law already prohibitsconvicted felons, subjects of permanent domestic-violence protective orders, as well as current and former spouses, parents, and guardians who have been convicted of domestic-violence misdemeanors from possessing a gun.”  10th Amendment proponents – their mission in life is giving states the rights to make life for women suck even more.

Chicago may be the murder capital of the country, but Kentucky wins the prize for having the most murders of women by intimate partners in the country.  And this new law virtually guarantees that the batterers the state is coddling will be on the lookout for their victims to be concealing a gun – and react accordingly.


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