Domestic violence laws examined following church shooting

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

While we still are somewhat limited in what we know about the shooting at a Sacramento church earlier this week, one thing we do know is that the shooter apparently had a history of domestic violence.


I sincerely wish that were an anomaly, but it seems many such shooters have a similar background. It’s not necessarily universal, but it is common enough.

So, considering the incident happened in California, it should be no surprise that lawmakers there are looking at changing the laws. Cam outlined some of that on Thursday.

However, gun laws aren’t necessarily the only thing being examined. One lawmaker is calling for stronger efforts for survivors of domestic violence.

The tragic events at the Church in Sacramento has reignited the debate over the complicated issue of domestic violence.

California State Sen. Susan Rubio, who championed numerous pieces of legislation in support of domestic violence survivors like herself, is calling for ways to strengthen protection, prevention, and support for survivors.

In the wake of a tragedy that left the gunman, his young three daughters, and church elder who was supervising their family visit dead, Rubio and others with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence say survivors need new protections and current laws need strengthening to protect those most at risk.

“In this particular case, I think that if there is violence after a restraining order whether it’s with the victim, I think there should be a pause,” Rubio said. “I think that visitation should stop.”


The shooter had been arrested for DUI and assaulting a police officer just days before the deadly incident.

What’s interesting here is Rubio is proposing something that doesn’t involve gun control. It seems as if she figures the existing laws are sufficient, but only if they’re enforced. I’m sure that’s not completely accurate, but this story doesn’t include additional calls for gun control, so there’s that.

But what about this particular case? Would these proposals have actually made a huge difference?

Honestly, I don’t know. It’s possible the shooter would have simply hunted down the children and the mother instead and killed them wherever else he happened to find them, so I don’t know that it would be a guaranteed safer path.

That said, I’m not sure it’s the worst idea in the world either. If you have a restraining order against you for domestic violence, then are arrested for another violent crime, then maybe a hold on visitation with the kids is warranted. At least until a judge can make a determination.


But would that violate the person’s due process rights?

I honestly don’t know. We’re getting into things I’ve never really cared all that much about, so I can’t begin to speculate. I will say that Rubio is apparently a survivor of domestic violence herself–her husband was a Democrat assemblyman in the California legislature at one time–so she has some knowledge of this kind of thing. She’s also likely to be biased against accused abusers.

Frankly, I’m just relieved to see someone in California looking for answers that don’t involve gun control.

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