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Mar-21-2013 00:00printcomments

Who Elected the NRA? You?

American culture does not give women much more protection or respect than the Taliban.

Stephanie Holton
Stephanie Holton, still alive at the time of this posting,
(Rajah Bose for The New York Times)

(CALGARY, Alberta) - Last year, Stephanie Holten in Spokane went to court to obtain a temporary order for protection from her ex-husband Corey Holten. Holten had threatened to kill her if her new boyfriend “gets near my kids.” In neat block letters she wrote on the form: “He owns guns, I am scared.”

The judge prohibited him from going within two blocks of her house. What the judge did not do was require him to do was surrender his guns. Twelve hours later he was outside her home and when she arrived with her two small children, he stepped out of his car and, brandishing a semi-automatic rifle, ordered her into the house where, he said, he was going to kill her. Going in, she managed to activate 911 on her cellphone and slip it under a blanket on the couch. The dispatcher heard her pleading for her life and managed to direct the police to the house where Mr. Holten subsequently surrendered.

How reasonable is it to suggest that the right to bear arms must yield to the right to life? (Second Amendment trumps the Constitution itself!)

This story appeared recently in the New York Times; here are three comments to the story:

John from Sacramento wrote:

So you suggest that a constitutional right be stripped on the basis of merely an accusation and request to the court? Remember, all it takes to get a restraining order is accusing someone and asking the court. There is no trial, no due process, none of those protections we firmly believe in. It's also grossly naive to think that someone who is murderous will "surrender their weapons" voluntarily.

Wanda from Somerset wrote:

In Kentucky game wardens can take guns away from someone caught poaching or shooting across the roadway. But those are turkeys, not women. This year already, a man bought a gun and within hours, during the transfer of children from the mother for a visit, he gunned down his wife, her uncle, and her 12-year-old cousin as they sat in the car--on a community college campus--waiting. But please, let's not pass laws, because killers won't obey them. Someone who should have had better sense said he would likely have killed her anyway, but there was no waiting period, no word to her that he was trying to purchase a gun. She was afraid of him and took others with her, but it didn't do any good. Are we really this helpless?

and Jonathan from NYC

The problem with these orders is that they do not come from a trial, no evidence is presented, and they are not adversarial proceedings. You can allege anything against anyone, and you will get an order. The person against whom the allegations are made has no chance to state his side of the case. The judges simply do not view these orders as a punishment for which due process of law is required. Such orders may very well be necessary in an emergency, but they should not be used as a basis of depriving anyone of his civil rights.

(John’s comment garnered 63 recommends; Wanda, 704 recommends and Jonathan’s 44; You can read the full story and 1,138 comments here )

Clearly the gun holder’s “civil rights” in such cases are more important than the right to life of the victim whose life can be snuffed out in a moment. Across the country, the NRA and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations.

Barbara Dye obtained an emergency order of protection in July 2010, on the same day she filed for divorce from her husband, Raymond Dye, a firefighter. Ms. Dye, who worked as a personal trainer at a gym the couple owned, explained in her petition that since telling her husband she wanted a divorce because of his infidelity, he had repeatedly threatened to kill her. She wrote that she feared he would “have a violent reaction when he receives divorce papers.”

Asked if there were weapons on the premises, she wrote, “Yes.” In fact, Mr. Dye had an arsenal which Ms. Dye and her family would later beg the local police to help them deal with, but they did nothing.

She went into hiding in Texas, then returned to Oklahoma to attend divorce proceedings. Two weeks after obtaining the initial order, her still-husband accosted her in a bank parking lot.

Witnesses reported that Mr. Dye tried to drag her into his truck. When she fought back, Mr. Dye shot her in the leg with a 357 revolver. On the ground. he put several more shots into her, saying, “I love you, I love you,” according to the police report. He then shot himself in the chest with a different gun, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, and fell dead, onto his wife’s body.

In a 1994 crime bill, over the strident objections of the NRA, that barred most people subject to full protective orders filed by intimate partners were prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. In a nod to the concerns of the gun lobby, the statute excluded most people under temporary orders, on the ground that they had not yet had the opportunity to contest the accusations in court.

Washington State has tried to enact firearm surrender laws. In 2004, Democratic Representative Ruth Kagi introduced a bill mandating the surrender of firearms with temporary protective orders. The bill couldn’t even make it out of committee. The NRA lobbyist, Brian Judy, testified that the measure granted “extraordinarily broad authority to strip firearms rights.”

Wisconsin became one of the first states to require the surrender of firearms with full protective orders in the mid-1990s. But by 2010, provisions were introduced that people subject to protective orders would have been required to list their firearms and surrender them to the county sheriff or a third party within 48 hours.

The NRA in a new twist, called this “a blatant violation of Americans’ Fifth Amendment rights”. In an alert to members. Jordan Austin, an NRA lobbyist, expanded in his testimony on the bill before an Assembly committee: “Once a person has an injunction issued against him, he is already a prohibited person. He cannot, under the Fifth Amendment, be forced to disclose whether he is in possession of firearms, because that would be tantamount to forcing him to admit a crime.” The bill died in the State Senate.

Kristine Hall, the policy director for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance says: “There’s often recognition that firearms and domestic violence is a lethal combination, but it’s followed quickly with concerns about taking away an individual’s right to possess a firearm”.

In April 2011 Deborah Wigg in Virginia Beach obtained a protective order against her husband Robert, who she was in the process of divorcing. In her petition, she described a violent encounter in which Mr. Wigg grabbed her by her hair, threw her down, ripped out a door and threw it at her. He was arrested and charged with assault. She also made clear in the petition that her husband owned a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun. She eventually won a full protective order, but Wigg kept his gun, which he used in his business installing and servicing ATMs.

On Nov. 8, 2011, around 11 p.m., Mr. Wigg showed up at her home ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door. Ms. Wigg called her parents, who lived about a half mile away, and was told her to hang up and call 911.

Her parents headed over and when they arrived, found Ms. Wigg dead from a single shot to the head. Wigg then drove to her parents’, apparently to kill them as well, but they were not there, so he killed himself in their front yard.

This article appears on the fourth anniversary of my first piece for Salem-News. I’ve written several articles about guns and I’ve gained an important insight: In the late 18th century, Americans were afraid of the British. Now they’re afraid of each other. Virtually every person who comments on the need for personal firearms, cites the “need” to protect themselves and their families.

With that thought in mind, I suggest that the last line of the Star-spangled banner be changed from: “O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” to something more contemporary:

“O’er the land of the fearful and home of the paranoid” because no other developed nation in the world (with only small/tiny fractions of gun violence/death) has a citizenry so afraid of itself.

If Wayne LaPierre were President, he and the NRA would introduce and pass laws to make every citizen own a firearm for protection from their fellow citizens because, in America, you never know...

Daniel Johnson is a born and raised Calgarian. He is currently working on a book The Occupy Wall Street User Manual which is scheduled for publication in spring 2013 by Polymath Press In 1990 he published his first (and so far, only) book: Practical History: A guide to Will and Ariel Durant’s “The Story of Civilization” (Polymath Press, Calgary) Newly appointed as the Deputy Executive Editor in August 2011, he has been writing exclusively for since March 2009 and, as of summer 2012, has published more than 210 stories. View articles written by Daniel Johnson

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Anonymous March 23, 2013 8:53 am (Pacific time)

The anti-Constitutionalists have been engaging in a steady push to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms for decades. And this is how it has been working out for them in the last two decades... The percentage of Americans who own guns has increased. The percentage of Americans who believe we have a right to own guns has increased. The number of guns owned per gun owner has increased. The amount of ammunition possessed per gun owner has increased. Concealed carry laws have spread from state to state like wildfire. Castle Doctrine laws have been passed in numerous states that didn't have them. Stand Your Ground laws have been passed in more states than had them before. Gun rights lobbying groups have become a cottage industry unto themselves sprouting up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. In the worst economy since the Great Depression the firearms industry can't keep up with orders or expand fast enough. 65.4 Million Guns Bought Since Obama Took Office, 91% More Than Bush's First-Term Total And in the last two months... (Dec. 2012 and Jan. 2013): Americans Buy Enough Guns in Last Two Months to Outfit the Entire Chinese and Indian Armies. NRA membership is increasing by record numbers. More women are becoming CHL holders. Please note with all this build up of firearm ownership as per the FBI, gun crime is going down and is less than it was over 100 years ago. The left simply needs to focus on inner-city crime and why "Fast and Furious" has not received the attention it must have. People are being killed everyday because of "F and F", but let's just give Obama a pass? How come Home Security Czar Napolitano has purchased over 1.6 billion (BILLION!!) bullets and hundreds of armored vehicles and has refused to answer why? Congress is ordering her to do so, but she still refuses...why? Where is the priority on the left? Is it because most of you are Marxists?

Ralph E. Stone March 22, 2013 8:36 am (Pacific time)

Clearly, we did not elect the NRA. However, we elected too many public officials who either are beholden to the NRA or fear the NRA. Perhaps, in the next election we should ask which candidates the NRA is supporting and opposing. Unfortunately, the NRA opposes all proposed gun control laws even the reasonable ones. Do we need people running around with assault weapons? Or why not overturn the Tiahrt Amendment? Is the U.S. finally serious about gun control? ( Apparently not.

Thanks for your comment, Ralph. 

D. Gilmore March 21, 2013 6:37 pm (Pacific time)

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

I guess anything the "people" think are unacceptable will get denied. I am new here, I liked the fact I did not have to sign up for facebook, or sign up for anything, but I cant take several minutes out of my day, sharing things that I have spent years on researching, for someone to not post my ad for no reason except they dont like it. No problem, not making waves, all is good, its just that I will find another website. This one talks the talk, but doesnt walk the walk..Its ok, not making waves, good luck and the best to ya :-) I am a bit disappointed tho...grr :-(

Your comments have been delayed because we couldn't decide if you were D. Gilmore or D. Gilbert. Hint: If you're going to use a fake name, at least try to keep track of it. 

Anonymous March 21, 2013 6:06 pm (Pacific time)

In case you missed it, an interesting exchange took place in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Texas Senator Ted Cruz politely asked gun-control crazy Dianne Feinstein how she would feel about applying her minimalist view on the Second Amendment to other parts of the Bill of Rights. Feinstein went into orbit. "I'm not a sixth grader," she huffed. Invoking her extensive Senate history of spitting on the Constitution, she made it clear that she didn't appreciate being reminded of the Constitution’s restrictions on her legislative will. Feinstein suggested that Congress should pass anti-gun legislation without considering the Constitution, in the expectation that the courts will sort it out. Notwithstanding the fact that Feinstein and every other senator had taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. So here's where we are: In a few weeks, after Easter recess, Harry Reid will move to proceed to some gun control proposal, probably the Veterans Gun Ban (S. 54). He'll then use his privileged recognition to set up a whole lot of votes intended to get Democrats reelected in 2014. Democrats will be given a shot at voting against the crazy Feinstein gun ban. But then Reid will do what he did on ObamaCare and play let's-make-a-deal for votes on other gun control. Bribes and tradeoffs will be made. And votes will be scheduled with a view to making Republicans maximally vulnerable by making them vote against measures which biased polling shows are popular in their states. Republican senators need to join together as a caucus to oppose the "motion to proceed" to any gun control legislation. Let the Democrats be the ones forced to bite the bullet and vote for a "motion to proceed" which is framed as a vote in support of the Feinstein gun ban. Under regular order, 41 Republicans can block any gun control this way. Harry Reid can use a special procedure under the anti-gun rules changes to force a vote with 51 Democrats, but, if he does, Mitch McConnell gets to "stop the trains" by offering the first unamendable amendment — a process which Reid cannot relish.

Anonymous March 21, 2013 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

Yes my state has Judges who order firearms confiscated in Domestic Violence cases. Meet the NRA's Biggest Recruiters: Number #1 and #2 Obama and Diane Feinstein. I recently attended a safety and shooting lesson for 78. Half of the group was female -- and white, black and Asian. Fourteen teens showed up with their parents. Months ago, it was clear that Feinstein's assault weapons ban had little chance of making it through the Democratic-run Senate (and 14 democrat senators are up for re-election in Red States in 2014, thus Reid does not want a vote), let alone the GOP House. Nonetheless, gun control enthusiasts pushed the measure in the dubious belief that the awful Newtown, Conn., shootings would make an assault weapons ban more palatable. But it is doomed. Meanwhile, these efforts have driven some law-abiding Americans into the loving arms of the NRA. There's a culture clash at play here between people who want to take control of their self-protection and those who want to leave it to the government. "We are our own first responders," NRA instructor Bill Hodges announced as he drilled participants on gun safety. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to fire. Then he brandished an old photo of Feinstein at a press event holding an AK-47 (she has a CHL and private armed protection guards) and ignoring that rule, having her finger on the trigger and pointing the AK-47 towards some bystanders. The New York Times has been attempting to tell people gun ownership has been going down over the last 40 years during a time of record sales going back to November 2008 when Obama was elected. Americans eventually get it! 1980, 1994, 2010, and 2014.

D. Gilmore March 21, 2013 1:02 pm (Pacific time)

Being a member of gun owners of America, here is my take. We have a tendency and facts that make us think the NRA is controlled opposition. I also, rarely hear talk about being armed to protect ourselves from our fellow citizens. The talk is about protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government. There also is talk about the tens of thousands of high powered rifles the obama admin sent to Mexico (fast and furious), and how those rifles make it back to the U.S. thru our open borders, then given to fellow gang members all over the U.S. We are also concerned about the CIA gun running in Central America where those guns also make it back to the U.S. through our open borders. These are facts I could easily prove. But I rarely hear of talk about protecting ourselves from our fellow citizens. In fact, we want to be armed to protect our fellow citizens. We also talk about why the mainstream does not talk about anti-depressants and SSRI'S, because 95% of shootings are related to these mind altering drugs. There is humor too, we are good people.. Obama giveth (to mexico) and Obama taketh away (from U.S. citizens). :-)

Anonymous March 21, 2013 7:10 am (Pacific time)

The State of New York has started what is now being labeled a "Snitch Line" in which people call to report what they believe is someone having a weapon/firearm illegally. The report generates a future investigation, and if a violation is discovered, the reportee gets $500.00. For those of you familiar with the state of NewYork and it's primary newspaper, you have a general understanding that frequently one sees very slanted reports to bolster an anti-2nd Amendment agenda. What could be a crime in NewYork is generally a non-event in the rest of the country. For those of you who have no problem with this "Snitch Line" then you may find comfort that in time you may be living in a country that will keep you about as safe as Jews were in Germany.

Ralph E. Stone March 21, 2013 7:00 am (Pacific time)

Under California's Domestic Violence Protection Act (DVPA), a person subject to a DVPA court order is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the order is in effect. This provision makes sense, doesn't it?

Tim King March 21, 2013 12:35 am (Pacific time)

Great article Daniel, sad but very important. To those women in danger from these asshole domestic abusers, there is little hope. It is a sad thing indeed.

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