Iowa amendment proposal not a boon for domestic abusers

Iowa amendment proposal not a boon for domestic abusers

The state of Iowa has a proposed constitutional amendment for voters to consider in November. It’s a pro-gun measure that will mandate what kind of review process courts in the state must use when they consider the constitutionality of gun control laws.

And it makes a lot of people nervous. It includes those who think gun control is the answer to domestic abuse.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and advocates in Iowa are especially alarmed about what comes up in a few weeks: a proposed gun rights amendment on the November ballot.

It is a question of whether “strict scrutiny” language should be added to Iowa’s constitution in establishing the right to keep and bear arms. Opponents say it would make it easier to overturn common-sense gun laws, including one prohibiting someone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, or who is subject to a protective order, from having a firearm.

Lindsay Pingel, director of community engagement for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said such individuals should not possess a gun.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that the firearm even has to be used to cause harm,” Pingel pointed out. “A person who harms might never fire that weapon at their victim, but they might use it to terrorize them.”

It should be noted that threatening someone with a firearm is a criminal act. Threatening to kill oneself is grounds for an involuntary 72-hour admission to a psychiatric facility.

Further, the prohibition against domestic abusers owning firearms comes down from the federal level. While state law may mirror federal law so local police can make arrests, it’s unlikely that even strict scrutiny would change that. Hell, I’m fairly sure even under the text and history standard laid out in the Bruen decision, such a law would ultimately be upheld.

So I think this is a grasp, a way to try and scare people into opposing the proposed amendment.

But what they don’t acknowledge anywhere is the role the firearm has in protecting women from domestic abusers.

Violent men don’t need a gun to beat or kill their female partners. The average male is far stronger than the average female. Many men are fully capable of murdering someone with their bare hands, from a physicality standpoint. Guns aren’t needed for that.

Yet for a battered woman to resist their domestic abuser, they might well need a firearm.

As the above piece almost noted, it doesn’t have to be fired to be effective, either. The mere threat of a gun can adjust attitudes quick, fast, and in a hurry. No one wants to get shot and since many domestic abusers are, at heart, cowards with massive inferiority complexes, staring down the barrel of a firearm is a fine way to diffuse just about any situation.

The problem is that gun control laws, ones often justified by citing domestic abuse, also can keep law-abiding victims from being able to get a gun when they need one.

Which is where the Iowa amendment comes in. It will, at least in theory, help preserve that right so victims, among others, can arm themselves to resist their attackers.

Hell, if domestic abusers are that much of a threat, then why not raise the penalties for such crimes to felony levels? Then it won’t matter why they’re convicted, only that they’re felons and even a repeal of prohibitions against domestic abusers getting guns won’t matter.

But no one seems interested in that discussion, even though it treats domestic abusers harshly and is far more respectful of the Second Amendment. Funny how that shakes out, isn’t it?