Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Featured letter on restraining orders

So the OC Register decided to print my humble missive, and I even received a few calls from readers thanking me for writing it. It's flattering and all, but I must admit I'm a little weirded out by the ease with which folks can find my phone number, address, etc. I'm starting to think that if I go on writing on topics that might be controversial (like the bearing of firearms in the People's Republic of Kalifornia) I should at least consider being unlisted.

There was one very interesting call though, from the Executive Director of the California Rifle and Pistol Association. He wanted permission to reprint it in their monthly magazine that goes out to 65,000 members - wow!

On the third point of the below post: the potential Constitutional ramifications of disarming objects of restraining orders who have broken no laws. Obviously this would be a very touchy subject and could have really turned off readers of the Register who otherwise may have taken my points to heart, so it's probably a good thing I didn't include it. But it's still a very sticky point that I think most people are scared to face

What I'm thinking about is this: if an otherwise law-abiding U.S. citizen has the unfortunate luck to have a restraining order issued against him, does he deserve to have his God-given right to self-defense violated by the confiscation of his lawfully-owned firearms and the prevention from buying new ones? The assumption (especially in the Register's articles by Ms. Rhor) is that most restraining orders are issued against abusive male significant others. But surely that can't describe every object of active restraining orders - there are certainly citizens out there who have no criminal record but are the object of a restraining order and are therefore not permitted to own firearms. Is this Constitutionally sound?

If the object of the order has been convicted of a crime that would otherwise revoke his right to own firearms (e.g., a violent felony, etc.), the terms of a restraining order provide no additional muscle to keep him from purchasing any. If the object of the order has a clean record, how can we justify the violation of his rights based solely on the fact that someone was able to talk a judge into believing that he's dangerous? Is that the due process that's guaranteed us by the Fifth Amendment? I believe restraining orders are public records including residence addresses for the objects of those orders. Right there criminals have a tailor-made list of homes that won't be protected by the presence of a gun. Now who's in danger?

I'm not saying these are the only considerations - just one I don't think I've seen addressed anywhere.