prevention begins at home
2 April 2006 - Orange County Register
series on restraining orders highlighted problems in the process,
but left out a couple of very critical issues.
should be aware that law enforcement officials are under no legal
or Constitutional obligation to endanger themselves to protect the
lives of citizens. There are CA appeals court decisions (Hartzler
v. City of San Jose, 1979), D.C. appeals court decisions (Warren
v. District of Columbia, 1981), and U.S. Supreme Court decisions
(DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 1989) that affirm this. A 1990 U.S.
appeals court decision (Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept.) interpreted
DeShaney as ruling that even an existing restraining order did not
create the "special relationship" between law enforcement and an
individual citizen that would actually oblige police officers to
protect that citizen. In every police department there are those
who put their lives on the line to do just that, and those officers
are rightly praised as heroes. But the public should be aware that
as an institution, law enforcement is under no legal requirement
to protect them - even if a restraining order has been issued.
does that leave an average citizen in fear for her safety, once
she realizes that the police will not be held liable for failing
to serve an order, enforce it, or protect her from its object? Who
is then responsible for her safety? The only answer is that each
individual citizen is responsible for his or her own safety - and
each person should take every precaution they deem necessary to
exercise their natural, God-given right to defend their own lives
and those of their families. In more and more cases people are finding
that the best and most effective step is to own a firearm and learn
how to use it properly and safely - a recommendation conspicuously
lacking in Ms. Rhor’s series.
California’s highly-regulated environment includes some of the toughest
firearm restrictions in the nation, and these restrictions make
it very hard for a law-abiding citizen to defend himself. One of
the criticisms of the restraining order process is that sometimes
the system doesn’t work fast enough to issue, serve, and enforce
a restraining order. Consider the law requiring a waiting period
before a law-abiding citizen can take home a newly-purchased handgun:
who does it affect more, the criminal who likely obtains his guns
from illegal sources, the aggressive abuser who can bide his time
premeditating his actions, or the restraining order complainant
who is in daily fear for her life? Why would we keep a person in
such a state from being able to protect herself in a timely fashion?
also the restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons (which
California severely restricts with a "may-issue" law, leaving the
issuance or denial of such permits at the discretion of each county
or city, whereas 36 other states have more open "shall-issue" laws):
who does this affect more, the criminal who likely has an illegally-owned
gun already, the aggressive abuser planning a murder-suicide, or
the restraining order complainant who must leave the protection
of her lawfully-owned firearm at home? True, an applicant with a
restraining order on file is probably likely to be issued the concealed-carry
permit, but where does that leave the rest of the citizenry? Are
those people with restraining orders entitled to more freedom of
self-defense than those without?
should reconsider its restrictive firearms laws, especially given
the academic studies that are continually showing that a law-abiding,
armed populace is more able to prevent crime than are police departments.
The lives saved would go above and beyond those saved with a restraining