The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban Ruins Innocent Cops’ Careers

Los Angeles, CA–John Russell of the Information Radio Network interviewed me Monday concerning my co-authored column DNC Platform: Bad News for Dads (World Net Daily, 8/15/08). The Network is heard on 2,500 stations as well as Armed Forces Radio.

In the column we criticize some of the draconian domestic violence laws which often victimize innocent men, including the widespread abuse of the domestic violence restraining order process.  Russell is very informed on the issue, and brought up the problem of the 1996 Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.

Under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, individuals, including police officers and armed forces personnel, are prohibited from possessing a firearm if they are subject to a restraining order issued at the behest of a spouse or an intimate partner. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban expanded this prohibition to bar officers and service personnel from carrying weapons as part of their jobs. As a result, most police officers who are hit with restraining orders lose their careers.

I wrote a column about this issue a few years ago, featuring a New Jersey police officer named Eric Washington. I wrote:

Shot in the line of duty. Twice awarded the Medal of Honor. Named Essex County, New Jersey Police Officer of the Year. A highly decorated officer with an impeccable record. For 22 years police officer Eric Washington battled criminals on the streets of East Orange, New Jersey. On January 21, 2001 Washington was ambushed and brought down–not by an ex-convict bent on revenge or a shadowy gunman, but instead by a false accusation of domestic violence…

Washington”s career survived because his department had the resources to provide him with a desk job while he waged his long and ultimately successful legal fight to clear himself. Most officers aren”t so fortunate.

Former Torrance, California police officer John Brumbaugh recently won a seven-year legal battle after an ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of battery. Though Brumbaugh”s conviction was overturned and his name finally cleared, the false charges cost him his career as a police officer and several hundred thousand dollars in legal expenses and lost wages and benefits…

[Congress] should repeal the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, and provide that men with restraining orders against them can still possess department-issued firearms for the purposes of their employment.

The principle of ensuring that police officers are of solid character is a good one. What is lacking in current law is a reasonable standard for punitive action. The findings of police department investigations and criminal convictions are reasonable standards. The issuance of restraining orders is not.

To read the full article, see VAWA Renewal Provides Opportunity to Stop Destruction of Innocent Cops” Careers (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 7/19/05).

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