Amid the talk of ammunition magazines and background checks, the New York Times susses out a perhaps less obvious element of the gun-control battle: domestic abusers and firearms. As it explains, only a smattering of states require that those with protection orders against them give up their guns. It shares the situation of a Spokane, Washington, woman, who was able to obtain an order that barred her ex-husband from coming within two blocks of her. But it didn't require that he relinquish his guns, and 12 hours after it was handed down he confronted her at her home with a small semiautomatic rifle; she was able to secretly dial 911 on her cell and was aided by police.
On one side of this battle stand activists for the victims, who argue that a woman's right to her life is superseded by the right to bear arms; the NRA and other gun-rights proponents believe only a felony conviction should be grounds for losing gun ownership rights. The "mere issuance of court orders," isn't reason enough, asserts an NRA lobbyist. The Times' analysis of Washington state records returned "scores" of crimes involving a gun and committed by someone recently issued a protection order, and five cases where women were shot to death within of month of their order. Writes the Times, "In fairness, it was not always clear that such an order would have prevented the deaths. Even so, those cases can show the existing system's weakness in the face of obvious peril." Click to read the Times' lengthy piece.