SC op-ed uses domestic violence incident to push gun control

Domestic violence is a rare point of agreement in the United States. Well, to a point. What we all agree on is that it’s terrible and that it has no place in society. And not just American society, either, but literally anywhere humans exist.

Where we disagree is on just about any other issue surrounding it.

And then we have people who will use just about any incident of domestic violence to justify their push for gun control.

What if he didn’t have a gun?

What if it wasn’t so easy to squeeze a trigger?

What if the bullet had gone more toward her heart?

The what ifs will be running through the minds of those close to a Lexington County shooting victim and her husband, who killed himself after shooting his wife.

A question South Carolina residents and policymakers should be asking is what if we reduced access to guns?

The State’s Noah Feit reported on the case of 70-year-old William P. Burrow of Gilbert, who shot his wife and turned the gun on himself Tuesday. She was hospitalized with serious injuries and was in stable condition as of Wednesday morning, investigators said. Deputies found Burrow’s body near the edge of some woods not far from the house where he shot his wife.

So the author is using this instance to call for restrictions on guns.

OK, so…just what, exactly?

You see, while he’s using this horrific incident to justify his call for gun control, there’s nothing in this story on the one linked that makes it obvious just what restrictions would have prevented this incident. There’s no mention of a history of domestic violence, for example, which would at least seemingly justify barring gun sales to domestic abusers.

Nothing.

And he doesn’t stop here in trying to justify gun control, either.

The shootings lay bare the issues of domestic violence and suicide facing South Carolina and shows that gun access connects both.

South Carolina has historically had one of the highest rates of domestic violence and women being killed by men, according to studies by the Violence Policy Center. In 2019, South Carolina ranked 6th among states in the rate of women killed by men, though the rate has decreased in recent years.

In 2020, a gun was used in 79% of the domestic violence killings of women by men in South Carolina, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) reported.

Again, so just what does he suggest changing; because I looked at that last link because I was interested in raw numbers. It doesn’t include those numbers, shockingly. It does provide a citation for them, though, which is good, because it lets me find where they came from.

It comes via the 2020 South Carolina Domestic Violence Fatality Report, which you can find here. It turns out that in the entire state of South Carolina, 42 people were killed by a household member. Of those 36 were women.

Now, if 79 percent of those women were killed with a firearm, you’re looking at 28 people.

So we’re talking about a little over two dozen folks in a state with over 5 million people.

That’s why I’m curious just what his proposals are. Here are the only things he suggests:

The “boyfriend loophole” is wide open in South Carolina. The state’s domestic violence laws only apply to spouses, ex-spouses, men and women living together or to people who have a child together. A woman being abused by a boyfriend who doesn’t live with her isn’t afforded the protections of SC’s domestic violence laws, which can restrict gun ownership by the abuser.

South Carolina lawmakers should remove all conditions that allow a person convicted of domestic violence or under a restraining order to own guns. As is, South Carolina law allows people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to own guns if a judge doesn’t prohibit it.

However, the so-called boyfriend loophole was closed by federal law. The same is true regarding domestic violence convictions.

Now, as the author points out, local police don’t enforce federal law. However, gun stores are bound by those rules. They can’t sell guns to people who meet those criteria already.

So, again, what does he suggest?

Again, despite all the gun control laws in place designed to keep firearms out of domestic abusers’ hands, 28 women apparently lost their lives to a gun-wielding attacker in South Carolina in 2020, so what else does he propose?

Further, what restrictions are you willing to put in place that won’t make the situation worse?

In the entire state of South Carolina, we can safely surmise that there were more than 28 women who were victims of domestic abuse in 2020. How many were able to obtain a firearm under current law that would have found some kind of difficulty under new regulations?

It’s easy to say the laws should be confined to domestic abusers, but that’s already the case and it’s simply not working well enough for the author here, which means more restrictive measures would be required under this kind of thinking.

Restrictive gun control measures may well keep domestic abuse victims from obtaining a gun for self-defense. How much higher might the total number of women killed due to domestic violence have been otherwise?

You see, it’s easy to see a case of a man shooting his wife and killing himself and think, “We need more gun restrictions to keep this from happening.” However, it’s the details you don’t know that present the problem.

We don’t know if this man had a history of domestic violence or anything that would have disqualified him from owning a firearm. He could have been a lifetime abuser, but without a conviction, it wouldn’t matter.

We don’t know how any proposed regulations might impact law-abiding citizens–like victims–obtaining firearms.

As a result, we don’t know if such laws would make the number of domestic fatalities go up appreciably or not.

See, this case doesn’t present the evidence the author likes to think it does. Of course, I doubt he bothered to think through any of it as he presented his attempt at data and tried to lie with statistics while overstating the issue.