Scott Tibbs
blog post
July 15th, 2005

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An overlooked way to suppress domestic violence

Wendy McElroy has a good editorial on the need for domestic violence victims to have access to firearms for protection.

As McElroy says, we simply cannot count on the police to protect us from those who would do us harm. Unless we have a police officer on every corner in every city and town in the country, we cannot expect law enforcement to prevent all (or even most) crime.

We can, however, take personal responsibility and take steps to protect themselves from violence. A man who has abused and intimidated his wife for years may not fear her, but he will probably fear the firearm in her hand. Knowing his victim is armed is a significant deterrent, and if an abuser attempts to assault his victims she has the ability to use lethal force to protect herself.

I know some gun-control advocates are shrieking in horror at this thought. But think about it for a minute. Violent criminals will always have access to weapons, even if illegally. A simple kitchen knife can be a deadly weapon. In domestic violence cases, the perpetrator may not even need a weapon if he is bigger and stronger than the victim he is terrorizing. A firearm in the hands of someone trained to use it empowers the victim and levels the playing field.

Some left-leaning groups are beginning to realize this. The Pink Pistols make the point that armed homosexuals "don't get bashed". Had Matthew Shepard been armed, would he have suffered a brutal beating and been left to die tied to a fence?

Firearms as protection for domestic abuse victims is an issue that gun-rights organizations like the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America should be advancing in an aggressive way. When in the hands of a victim of domestic violence, a firearm is a tool of nonviolence. To borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan, victims of domestic violence can achieve "peace through strength".