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Today I read of a terrible crime in which a young woman was abducted from a bus, along with her 3 year old child, by a man against whom she had a restraining order. She was fatally shot in front of many witnesses and the man fled with the child. The perpetrator was later shot by a police sniper. Tragedies such as this are a daily occurrence in this country. Over a thousand people are killed in domestic violence incidents in the United States annually.

I was, therefore, somewhat surprised that all of the comments to the article said something like “We must do something about all this gun violence”. Apparently, if the woman had been abducted at knifepoint and fatally stabbed, that would have been better.

Domestic Violence is also a banner issue for anti-gun politicians. More laws are being passed to take firearms from people who are accused of domestic violence. They are even pushing laws to take guns from those deemed to be “at high risk” of domestic violence.

My perspective on this comes from painful personal experience. I was married for two years to a charming sociopath who had no more respect for the law than he did for women. I won’ go into how I got myself into that mess. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I escaped with my life and my children’s lives. This was twenty years ago and maybe things have improved for young women in my situation. However, I think not since I read of so many deaths.

So, wouldn’t I, of all people, want to see psychos like my ex disarmed. I would. But, it’s never that simple. I think those who have been convicted of domestic violence, like those who are convicted of other crimes of violence, should not have guns. Understanding that there is a period of limbo between arrest and conviction, I think a judge should decide if there is sufficient cause to restrict the accused person’s right to arms. Again, this is not an uncommon pretrial condition for in cases of violent crime. Do you see a pattern here? I believe that domestic violence crimes should be treated as other crimes of violence are. Most of all I don’t want to see VICTIMS disarmed because dual restraining orders were issued, a common practice.

The fact is that a restraining order is just a piece of paper it is not protection. Lots of women die with one in their purse. A violent, abusive person doesn’t respect the law. All that paper does is give the police something with which to charge him when he stalks, threatens or harasses the victim. Sometimes it raises a flag in the 911 system and rates a faster police response to that address. Sometime, without one, police will do absolutely nothing about the situation.

Back to my story. I left my husband with our two children, a baby and a one year old. I also had a four year old from a previous marriage and a twelve year old sister who was my ward. I rented an apartment, changed my name and filed for divorce. My ex had been arrested and convicted of assaults against me. He was on probation and I had a restraining order. After numerous lesser incidents, he kicked in my door one night and attempted to rape me. I managed to get away and flee to a neighbor with him in pursuit. Confronted by my friend’s husband and father, my husband left the scene. An hour later the most unpleasant police officer I have ever met arrived. His attitude was hostile and he asked what I expected him to do. It went like this:

Me: Arrest him

Cop: For what?

Me: Assault, attempted rape, violating a restraining order

Cop: He’s not here, he’s not violating anything

Me: I have these witnesses

Cop: For all I know, you invited him

Me: Well, look at me, he attacked me, he tried to rape me

Cop: For all I know, you like it rough and you’re just mad he didn’t stick around to cuddle

Me: I’m separated from him. I didn’t want this. He tried to rape me

Cop: You’re not divorced. It can’t be rape if you’re married (not true, even then)

This was frustrating, humiliating and made me really, really angry. This officer was later fired after he beat his wife so badly she ended up in ICU. I went to the State’s Attorney and filed the charges myself. Then I got a gun.

I didn’t ever have to shoot him. I let him know I had it and that was enough. But, he filed for a restraining order against me, knowing that the gun would be taken if it was granted. It was a small court and the judge knew the situation so it was denied. But, where would I be if it had been granted, as they so often are? Defenseless, maybe dead. He also tried reporting to Child Protective Services that the gun was a danger to the kids. A talk between them and my attorney, along with assurance the gun was safely stored, ended that. Since that time, nobody has ever touched me without my consent or broken into my home. I will never be a victim again.

So, yes, I’m glad he didn’t have a gun. But, I know if he really wanted one, a court order or a law wouldn’t have stopped him from having one. I guess I’m lucky he preferred to hurt me up close and personal.

On the other hand, if his tactic were successful, I would have also been banned from having a gun. I’m a generally, law abiding person so that would have been a dilemma for me. I can’t say for sure that I would have chosen law over life. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose. I’m glad that it was a one judge court and his restraining order against me was denied so I didn’t have to make the choice between being a criminal and protecting myself.

So, I really abhor the idea that Democrats are trying to disarm people on the basis of accusations, not evidence, and worse, on risk assessments. My guess is that if it is determined to be a high risk relationship for violence, both parties will be barred from lawful gun ownership. They apparently think victims are completely incapable of ever being anything else.

While I do believe that there’s no need to make weapons access easy for criminals, I also believe strongly in the right to due process. There must at least be probable cause, not just accusations. Those falsely accused have deserve their day in court. Victims should be empowered, not made more helpless.


Although female gun owners are increasing in number, statistics still show that women are more likely to object to firearms in the home. Women with children are more likely than those without children to fear having them. The anti-gun groups have worked hard to instill this fear in the public. They heavily publicize the tragic accidents caused by children playing with firearms to prey on the worst fears a parent has.

Guns are obviously dangerous by design. So are automobiles, the leading cause of accidental death for children in the U.S. Also highly dangerous are lawnmowers, chainsaws, kitchen knives and numerous other tools found around the house and yard. Kids are abused by adults, bitten by dogs, strangled by pet snakes. Children die or are injured by all of these.

A firearm is a tool, nothing more. In and of itself, it will not jump up and kill someone. Parents, in my opinion, have two duties when it comes to guns. First, and foremost, adults must be certain that a firearm never ever comes into the hand of an unsupervised child. Even if you are not a parent, guns must be secured so that no child, including visitors, can ever get their little hands on them. Carrying your weapon on your person while it is not locked away will accomplish this.

The second responsibility is one that the anti-gun people should also heed. It is that all parents must educate children about firearm safety. In the simplest form, it is that if a child sees a gun unattended by an adult, they must inform an adult immediately and NOT TOUCH IT! Whether you are for or against guns, you must teach your child what to do when they are away from you and see a gun, whether found outside or in a playmate’s home.

If you own firearms, teach your child safety at age appropriate levels. I was raised in a home with guns. I don’t recall ever not knowing the adage that all guns are essentially loaded all the time. This is vital for parents to follow and impress upon their children. When they reach the age to use toy guns, teach them the difference between a real gun and a water gun, nerf gun, paintball gun, etc. As a child we treated BB guns, pellet guns and air guns as real weapons as they can cause serious injuries or occasionally, death.

If all parents educated their children about guns, even if they don’t think the children will encounter one, so much tragedy could be avoided. Just as we teach our kids to stay out of traffic, not play with knives and not pet strange dogs, we have a duty to teach them about firearms. Education is how tragedies are avoided.

The decision to own a gun in a home with children is a very personal one. It is a decision that must be made by every family for themselves based upon their own circumstances. Having a gun is not necessarily the right decision for everyone. For some, a long gun may be preferable to a handgun. Whatever your choice, it is yours alone to make.

In my childhood, we had guns. We went hunting and target shooting. None of us or our playmates was ever injured because our parents practiced and taught good safety. The good safety habits I learned as a child have stayed with me for life. Having been introduced as a child, I respect, but do not fear guns.

For my own family, there was a point where I could not, in good conscience, keep a weapon of any kind in my home. My youngest child had severe early onset bipolar disorder. I chose to keep her at home and do the best I could. However, she had no regard for her own safety at all. She would use anything as a weapon. She could break into practically anything in a flash. I just could not be sure that I could secure a gun from her and have it in any way accessible to me if needed. I also got rid of everything that could be used as a weapon, even kitchen knives. I had one knife I kept well hidden and she still got it a few times. I lived in a rural, low crime area and, at that point in life, a gun would have been more of a risk than a benefit. I also hired a lawn service and kept the car key on me all the time. Everything posed a danger during that time.

So, I fully support a family’s right to choose what is best for their circumstances. I just hope to see more people make their choice because they are educated about firearms and have weighed the risks and benefits for themselves. What I don’t like to see is the fear and ignorance that cause people to not only refuse to have guns, but, to fail to even teach their children how to be safe around one. The best advice I can give is to educate yourself first, then educate your children from a position of strength and knowledge.

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