This past March, The New York Times wrote a powerful story about how in Washington state gun rights trump orders of protection for the victims of domestic violence.
They told the story of Stephanie Holten from Spokane who obtained a protection order from her husband because he had thrust a gun in her mouth and threatened to kill her. The judge’s order prohibited Holten from going within two blocks of Stephanie’s home, but what it didn’t require him to do was surrender his guns.
About 12 hours later, Holten was lying in wait armed with a small semiautomatic rifle. He directed Stephanie and her two children inside her house, yelling that he was going to kill her. Luckily, police forced him to surrender. But not all are so lucky.
In Washington there have been at least five instances over the last decade where women were shot to death less than a month after obtaining protection orders and dozens of assaults.
That’s why I was disappointed to receive a mailer from the National Rifle Association touting state Rep. Jan Angel’s “A+” gun rating that included her vote against House Bill 1840 requiring persons subject to protection orders to surrender their firearms.
There are definitely responsible gun owners, but we can all agree that the gun rights of potentially dangerous individuals should not come before the rights of victims. Shame on Jan Angel and the NRA for opposing this common-sense legislation.
(Lantz is a former 26th Legislative District state representative.)