The report (pdf) from a joint FBI/Texas State University doesn’t have much good news for the absolutists of the National Rifle Association. The study analyzed shooting incidents in the United States over the past 13 years and reported the following resolutions to the incidents.
In 37 (23.1%) of the 160 active shooting incidents the shooter committed suicide at the scene before police arrived. In 21 (13.1%) of the incidents an unarmed citizen successfully restrained the shooter. In 2 of the incidents (1.3%) armed off-duty law enforcement personnel ended the threat. In 5 of the incidents armed non-law enforcement citizens ended the shootings in which 3 shooters were killed, 1 committed suicide, and 1 was wounded. For all the noise about arming everyone to the gunwales, only 5 of the 160 incidents ended because of armed citizen intervention. No doubt the NRA ammosexuals would argue that if More Citizens were Armed, then More Incidents would have been resolved at the scene by a Citizen Shooter. This conclusion is actually counter-intuitive.
More people firing more rounds in an active shooter situation doesn’t make anyone safer. The NRA logic requires that we ignore a crucial part of the equation – the bystanders. The fantasy that our Citizen Shooter will “take out the bad guy” requires that the scene be something out of the OK Corral mythology during which bystanders fled to safety, or possibly that the Citizen Shooter is so marvelously competent that no bystander or witness will be in peril of flying rounds of ammo. Nor does the Citizen Shooter image crack through the actual numbers – in 13.1% of the incidents an unarmed citizen was successful and in only 3.1% was an armed citizen successful.
The Domestic Violence
However, there’s more to this analysis than the augmentation of what we already know – more guns doesn’t solve the problems – there’s a link between active shooting incidents and domestic violence. From the report:
“Of note, male shooters also acted violently against women with whom they had or once had a romantic relationship. In 16 (10.0%) of the 160 incidents, the shooters targeted current, estranged, or former wives as well as current or former girlfriends. In 12 incidents, the women were killed; in 3 incidents, the women sustained significant injuries but survived; and in 1 incident, the shooter could not find the woman. While perpetrating this violence, an additional 42 people were killed and another 28 were wounded.”
Not to put too fine a point to it, but 42 people died and 28 suffered gunshot wounds because the ‘domestic violence’ got out of the house.
Here’s the point at which NRS 33 (Injunctions) kicks in. Nevada statutes allow for an emergency restraining order or a temporary restraining order, with courts available 24/7 to issue emergency orders barring the ‘adverse party’ from threatening the victim or victims, being in the victim’s residence, and doing any harm to pets. [NRS 33.020] But, the TRO doesn’t get the guns out of the house. The TRO doesn’t take the guns away from the ‘adverse party,’ and if the aforementioned ‘adverse party’ is of a mind to participate in something like the 16 incidents in the FBI report, then there is nothing in the law to stop him.
It is only when an extended order of protection is sought that anyone starts paying attention to the firearms. NRS 33.031-033 offers the ‘adverse party’ potential shooter some protection for his firearms. Here’s the catch:
“ A temporary order can last up to 30 days. However, if you file for an extended order at the same time that you file for the temporary order (or at any time while the temporary order is in effect), the temporary order will last until the date of your hearing for an extended order (which could be up to 45 days from the date you file for the extended order).*1 [WLOrg]
That’s up to 45 days for our hypothetical ‘adverse party’ to retain the firearms, and perhaps decide to use them. This gives the ‘adverse party’ his day in court to protect his ‘gun rights,’ but on the other hand it gives him possession of lethal weapons for up to 45 days. In a much safer world the firearms would leave his hands during the imposition of the emergency restraining period. The ammosexuals would no doubt start sputtering.
But, but, but “I have a Constitutional Right to my Gun?” “You can’t take it away from me before I have my day in court!” The Day In Court Argument is logically fragile. I have a Constitutional Right to my own religious practices, however if I decide to become a practicing Aztec and select victims for sacrifice to the Sun – there’s little doubt the state would make every effort to stop me well before my court date.
In a safer world the guns would be gone during the period specified by the temporary restraining order. There’s no requirement that the ‘adverse party’ show up at the TRO hearing, but there’s nothing to prevent it either? In our not-quite-so-safe world those guns can be in ‘adverse party’ hands for up to 45 days. There are at least 70 casualties mentioned in the FBI report which might have been prevented by tougher injunctions, and more vigorous enforcement of those orders?
There is a compromise position which the Legislature might consider. How might domestic violence in Nevada be mitigated if we agreed that if the domestic violence incident included shooting or threats of shooting, then the emergency protection order could include the dispossession of firearms? Or, if the ‘adverse party’ was the perpetrator of previous acts of violence then the firearms would be handed over to law enforcement for storage pending further actions by the court? It would seem logical to take the escalation factor into account when dealing with those who tend toward assault and battery.
Nevada’s laws aren’t the worst in the nation, but they could be better, and more focused on preventing active shooter violence – something for the next session of the Legislature to consider?