Heroic blow for women's rights

So the democratic governor of Virginia has worked to improve the plight of victims of domestic abuse by vetoing a bill aimed at making it easier and faster for them to arm themselves against their abusers. It’s a good thing we’re making the world safer for their attackers.

It’s a tough call. I can understand an abused woman’s desire to have that kind of protection, but wouldn’t a larger, stronger man be able to wrestle the gun away from her, and possibly use it against her? Wouldn’t it be better to help her get out of the situation in the first place? The best defense against an abuser is distance, not sticking around to deal with it when it happens.

You linked to an opinion piece by a guy selling a book on guns. Got a link to the bill or a break down of it? Judging by the article it was a bill that would have bypassed a waiting period to acquire a concealed. Could be a bad idea if it bypassed any required safety or accuracy classes that may have been required.

Why do you think a person who doesn’t already have a concealed permit would be a good candidate to suddenly arm themselves in public immediately to meet a threat that probably won’t be presented in public? I’d like to see some DV statistics, any that support the notion that passing this bill would have been a good idea.


One of the single greatest predictive factors of whether an abuse victim will be murdered is whether or not there is a gun in the home. It doesn’t matter who owns the gun. The statistical increase in risk is so striking that it’s considered alongside strangulation as a major risk factor in evidence-based danger assessments used by law enforcement and domestic violence agencies. From a purely statical perspective, it’s difficult to argue that guns make DV victims safer.

This seems a better fit in GD.

In fairness (and based just on the OP’s startlingly shitty cite) it sounds like this particular bill would have applied to women who were already trying to leave their abuser, and (presumably) are not longer living with him. I’m not sure that that statistic about guns in the home being an increased risk factor applies if the woman isn’t sharing a home with her abuser.

The number of ordinary law-abiding people who wold ever encounter a need to discharge a firearm for their protection, is so ridiculously small, any law would have an effect that would be near zero in relevance. The premise that would be applicable to any such laws would, in a great majority of cases, arise among citizens who are at least dysfunctional, if not outright criminal. .

So a decision to enact such laws ought to err on the side of minimizing the use of firearms in cases of accident, misadvenure, or intended abuse.

Victims of gun-related homicides are, in an overwhelming majority of cases, persons who are known to and associate with people inclined to use guns to commit homicides and participate in other forms of underworld behavior… The rest of the general public does not need laws that liberalize access to weapons…

Here is a better summary:

Virginia is already shall issue so what this bill does is circumvent the training and background requirement for CCW for a limited time that is meant to coincide with the time it takes for the regular permit application to be processed if there is a protective order in place issued by a judge.

Open carry is legal in Virginia without a permit which tells me two things - the state believes that training is required if you conceal, but not open carry - somehow there is a greater danger they see from concealing. This isn’t about not introducing weapons into the scenario since it’s perfectly legal to do so already.

Maybe the veto will be overridden.

I’m pretty sure it does, but those statistics may be complicated by the fact that a victim is at his/her highest risk for murder when trying to leave the abuser. I believe the rate is 9 times more likely to be killed when leaving an abuser. So parsing that general statistic out from the added risk factor of owning a gun would be difficult.

Another gun fun-fact: One of the single greatest risk factors for whether someone will try to shoot a police officer is whether or not they have strangled their domestic partner in the last year. I don’t generally take many hard-line stances on guns, but I’m confident with the assertion that people who commit acts of domestic violence should not own guns. I generally think anyone owning a gun is a bad idea, but I’m not about to impede anyone’s right to do it. I’ll make an exception in the case of people with a track record of domestic violence.

This is random and only a local example in my county, but my organization, in partnership with local law enforcement and others, have established a coordinated community response to the law enforcement and court handling of DV cases. Part of this is for police detectives to conduct a danger assessment within 24-48 hours of the alleged perpetrator’s arrest. The detective then reports the results during the arraignment of the alleged abuser to make recommendations for their bond or parole. I believe one of these recommendations, based on assessed risk, is for the abuser to have no access to firearms. The result is that there have been zero domestic violence related homicides in our county since the team was formed. I’m only sharing because I learned about it recently when I wrote a grant for it, and I find it fascinating.

In Virginia, the woman is already permitted to openly carry a handgun legally.

This law would, if enacted, change only the requirements for carrying a handgun about her person “concealed from common observation.” And the only change to those requirements would be a 90-day period where she could carry concealed while waiting for the local circuit court to process her application for concealed carry.

Good info.

A couple points: the two things “it tells you” aren’t necessarily so. IF all laws were created ab initio from a reasoned cost-benefit basis and a clear understanding of both the *status quo ante *and the comprehensive desired goal state THEN we could apply logic as you have.

The process by which Virginia or anybody else allows or doesn’t allow open carry or concealed carry with or without permits or with or without training is pretty much a case study in ad hoc political activity spread over decades of changing public attitudes and political personalities. This proposed law is one more Band-Aid acting across part of the giant pile of existing Band-Aids. Do not seek doctrinal clarity in something that inherently can’t have much.

All we can actually say for sure today is that the difference in training requirements for open vs. concealed has not yet become the largest political issue facing the state and hence has not made it to the top of the legislative action agenda nor has net sentiment become lopsided enough to overcome the inertia to leave things as they happen to already be.
As has been discussed in umpteen gun threads, it take a different mindset to carry openly in an area where it’s 100% legal but observably rare, than it does to carry concealed in an area where it’s 100% legal but unknowably rare vs. common. The barrier to entry for the latter is, for most people, much lower than it is the former. I’ll speculate that that’s doubly true for women vs. men. As such, passage of this bill could reasonably be expected to increase the number of armed (and especially female) DV victims versus not passing the bill.
It’s of course massively arguable whether this change would be a net benefit or a net harm to society at large or the affected individuals in particular. Several folks have already weighed in on those topics. I’ll stand silent.

My point is simply that it is a real change that would have real consequences. It’s not simply meaningless legalistic window dressing.

It’s interesting how victims of domestic violence are automatically assumed to be women.

In other words this doesn’t have a damned thing to do with women’s rights.

I’m not sure if the comments about a bigger guys being able to wrestle the gun from her were half ironic or not.

I certainly am not for arming people, but that’s about the best situation I can imagine for waving a waiting period. The leaving part is the most dangerous part - and yeah - if the guy is close enough - he may be able to wrestle it from her (same could be said about a guy and another guy). I’m thinking the - she has a restraining order and he tries to break in thing.

I lost someone to domestic violence - and it’s very hard to get women to leave those situations. She wouldn’t have been saved by this, but it might empower other women who feel helpless.

I don’t think this will help most women in these types of situations. Before I understood some of the complexities about domestic violence - I made almost zero impact in helping a handful of women in these situations. Well I helped one, but he ended up killing a different person years later.

And even after understanding some of it - I’ve made almost zero headway in being able to help. It’s a process - and what these guys (I know men are victims too, but I’ve only known women) do to them just messes up their self esteem to such a huge degree.

What I meant was, it seems to me that there’s a difference between, “I’m a gun owner, therefore, I don’t have to worry about domestic violence,” which I agree is a false security, and “I am currently a victim of domestic violence. I’m going to buy a gun so that I can protect myself while I escape from this situation.” Since this bill is specifically about waiving a 45 day waiting period, I assume it’s the latter situation that’s mostly in play.

A link to the statement including other related vetoed bills.


I wish I could participate more, but as I would need to share experiences of others in a way that may be hard to reliably anonymize and would violate confidentiality obligations I will have to walk away with this.

Both sides are using really bad data and both sides are driven more by political ideals than any desire to actually find a solution for this very real problem.

Have fun storming the castle…

I’ve written about a hypothetical client here before, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband. On the night in question, he strangled her. He stopped only when the kids intervened. She went upstairs, grabbed his service weapon (he was a cop), and put two bullets in his head.

She is serving 15 years in prison for manslaughter.

In Virginia, self-defense requires an imminent threat… and premeditation can occur in a second. “He was stalking me, and had hit me in the past, so I shot him officer…” is going to land you in prison.

If the bigger stronger man can take away the gun he probably doesn’t need the gun to do whatever he wants to her.

What protection does having a concealed weapon give to a DV victim that having an openly carried weapon does not? I’m not being snarky, I honestly can’t think of why having it concealed makes a difference in this case. If anything an openly carried weapon would seem to be a better deterrent.

The difference, as I suggested back in post #11, is that darn few DV victims will choose to open carry. A potentially much larger number of DVs might choose to concealed carry. The whole point of the law is to expand the number of armed DV victims.

Whether that’s a good goal or a bad goal for either the DV victim or society at large is a separate debate I’m not entering.

My immediate thought is that an open carry weapon is a bit more of a life altering decision. Like it or not, people look at you different when you are openly carry a weapon. Some establishments ban open carry but not concealed. This all makes it more likely that the victim will decide against having a gun at all or at least leave it at home more often.