February 28, 2013

SB 197

Here's a .pdf of Colorado Senate Bill 197. This bill concerns the possession of firearms by persons subject to restraining orders involving domestic violence or those convicted of misdemeanors or felonies involving domestic violence.

The short version is it makes crimes under the Lautenberg Amendment even more illegaler.

The long version is that it makes crimes under the Lautenberg Amendment even more illegaler and adds some new twists:

For example a crime against property, whether or not it was a felony, becomes a dis-qualifier from legally owning firearms or ammunition if said crime was for the purpose or coercion, control, intimidation, punishment or revenge against a domestic partner or ex domestic partner.

It sets a time limit (between 24 and 72 hours) to turn in your firearms and ammo to a law enforcement agency. You may also transfer them to a gun shop or an individual so long as said individual has had a background check run on them for the purpose. 3 days after giving up possession, some paperwork has to be filed. If not that's a crime. And possessing firearms or ammo while under a protection order will violate said protection order.

If you're incarcerated when a protection order is served, you have to surrender all firearms and ammunition in or subject to your immediate possession or control prior to release. Re-read that one a few times. I know I did.

As a stylistic aside, whoever the hell is drafting these senate bills has no appreciation for brevity. And coming from me that's a serious indictment.

The "legislative declaration"s are a nice little illogical slap in the face.

And it takes effect upon passage for the most part, unless Colorado HB 1229 is passed into law. That's the universal background check bill, and would cover some of the language in SB 197, mainly the passages dealing with background checks for transfers of weapons and ammunition to an individual.

And yes, I believe that the language of SB 197 would require a background check even if a person was only surrendering ammunition to an individual.

Needless to say I'm opposed to this law, just as I oppose the Lautenberg Amendment. The sound byte makes folk think this will get wife beaters off the streets or at least keep them from being armed. But that's not the case.

Most men who intend to do harm don't need firearms when their victim is a woman. See Nicole Simpson for a prominent example of this. Most folks bent on murdering their ex won't be stopped by a gun law or a protection order, considering the law prohibiting murder is harsher and they're willing to violate that one.

This has the effect of trapping a lot of folks who are no serious threat to anyone. I've seen protection orders issued over allegations of emotional abuse. Not physical, but emotional. Some divorce attorneys pursue restraining orders as a matter of course, not because anyone believes there's a real danger.

Lastly, I had a lover a few years back who was convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. At the time she was about 105 pounds, around 5'5" tall and not in the least bit violent. But she had a boyfriend who was a real jerk. He said something extremely rude to her one day, so rude I won't repeat it here or in mixed company. So she did what any proper Southern lady should've done in that circumstance (which impressed me because she was born and raised in Colorado); she slapped the fire out the boy. Unfortunately they were in the line at a drive thru teller. The teller called the cops, the cops arrested her, and before she knew what she was doing she pled guilty to a domestic violence misdemeanor. Last time I saw her she was around 125 pounds, still a tiny little thing, and if she would have hit me as hard as she could have I'd have had trouble deciding if it was flirtation or foreplay. But now this single mother of two can't even have a single shot break open shotgun in her home to protect herself and her two babies.

Do you sleep any better at night knowing that this very real though anonymous young mother is at the mercy of the least moral man in the room? I don't.

So this reinforcement and extension of the Lautenberg Amendment is not a good idea from a practical standpoint, as it harms folks who have no harmful intent (and a lady slapping a guy ain't harmful, neither is a person whose judge granted a protection order "just in case" during a divorce proceeding). In addition it directly imposes upon a person's Right to own and carry weapons, as well as diminishing a person's capabilities to practice the Right of self defense.

This bill is a redundancy of a federal law that is unconstitutional and immoral. It's badly written from a constitutional standpoint as well as a stylistic one. And like it's federal counterpart, which sadly has been law for over 16 years, will not prevent one single crime against anyone.

Posted by Publicola at February 28, 2013 03:10 AM | TrackBack
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