2013-10-09 / Opinion

Guns and domestic violence: a lethal mix

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Guns, Domestic Violence & the

Guns, Domestic Violence & the US Criminal Justice System is the Real Lethal Mix By Henry Teja MS-CJ, American Society of Criminology I am a NRA certified instructor; an avid firearms, weapon & military memorabilia collector and a former Federal Firearms License (FFL) Dealer. I also have two criminal justice degrees and a member of the American Society of Criminology. I have exposed to both side of criminal justice in the streets. Academia always speaks in terms of academics, statistics, which they cherry pick, and myths printed by many other gun nay-sayers & pacifist activists. It is not the gun which is the culprit that causes deaths in domestic violence; it is the US Criminal Justice System. Most criminalists will tell you domestic violence is a present day problem and it is rising. Many of the deaths caused with gun would occur anyway, in its absence, through another form or method, a knife, affixation, a blunt instrument, fire, etc. As I stated before the real culprit is the US Criminal Justice System. Why? Here is where I agree with Dr. Laura Finley. Using DOJ stats for 2011 & 2012 the federal government alone plea bargained any use or presence of a firearm 91% of the time. According to a research studies done by Syracuse University & Philadelphia Enquirer state and local plea bargains on gun related incidents go as high as 95%. The only gun crimes that usually do not get plead down is a main charge of illegal possession of a firearm. The second problem with domestic violence (DV) in the criminal justice system is it is almost operated like a baseball game, three strikes and you out! Orders of protection are basically a death warrant for the abused. Not every one abused is a female, sometime, not often it is a male. It does not stop there; now with same sex unions male on male & female on female are on the increase according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence (NCA). This shows that there needs to be a better method of separation of the two opposing camps, the abused & the abuser. Maybe the abuser needs to be put into a boot camp style intervention with them experiencing an extreme physical style program to break their behavior so it never escalates. Also drug & alcohol rehab programs must be mandated during this away time, as drugs & alcohol is a major factor fro domestic violence according to DOJ & BJS statistics. During this time maybe the abused & any children should be relocated to a better lifestyle offering a job, housing and other temporary needs until they can survive in society on their own. Funding can be acquired by removing some pleasures from those incarcerated in prisons and as part of the punishment in the form of a long term monthly fine for their inability to live with others. The third problem with the criminal justice system is law enforcement and government personnel are one of the largest sectors where domestic violence is perpetrated. Yes that right police offers and military personnel, some military police, are a large segment or abusers of the selected partners. Many domestic violence incidents are poorly reported due to the fact that other abusers feel sympathetic when they arrive on scene to handle such a problem according to the NCA & some DOJ reports. These officers & personnel need to be weeded out from at least appearing on scene for other abusers, if not removed from their position permanently. This could be a reason why the DOJ and some domestic violence advocates (DVV) state the actual DV figures are higher than reported. We saw that in the Sgt Peterson case in Illinois. Lastly Dr. Finley is correct about the National Instant Criminal Background Check System does not work well. It is based off information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) at the FBI Center in West Virginia. This center receives any information on any criminal activity from local law enforcement agencies and departments. However, many times reports are late and inaccurate for many reasons. However Dr. Finley is incorrect about gun shows and online purchases. All firearms since 9/11, according to three federal statutes & most states firearms laws require only FFL dealers to buy and sell firearms, record all ATFE documentation and, Yes, instigate an instant background check for all FFL dealers and individuals that live in that state where the gun show operates. All other sales are taken orders and must be shipped to another FFL dealer out of state then that dealer must conduct another 7744 form and background check before the firearm is released. The same goes for online firearm sales or auctions. (Title 18, Chapter 44, US Code, Title 18, Section 923 of the US Code, Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 178.100). There crucial issues about domestic violence, gun violence & the US criminal justice system. First prison’s first duty is punishment to change behavior, but it should be constructive punishment, learning a trade, performing piece work, growing part of the food they eat, etc. Attack the real problem not some boogie man ghost you think corrects the problem like government and advocates usually does. Keep firearms out of bad people hands without hindering American citizens of their Second Amendment, but correct the problems correctly.