Lawmakers have debated the issue of gun control since our nation’s inception. The Second Amendment allows citizens the right to bear arms, and in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court decided in District of Columbia v. Heller that individuals may possess firearms for lawful purposes, such as self-defense.
But the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year has reignited the gun debate with a new vigor. But how do firearms fit into a divorce blog? Permit us to explain.
Many marriages end in divorce because of domestic violence. Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicides by more than five times compared with relationships where there are no weapons, according to Futures Without Violence. The most common weapon: a handgun.
But guns are in many non-violent households, too. People may possess a firearm for self-defense or for recreational purposes, such as hunting or skeet shooting. Even with proper training and storage, a gun can be a threat to spouses who are headed for divorce.
Emotions are high in divorce cases, and even the most level-headed people can lose it. To help minimize the risks – even if they seem ridiculously low – it might be worth considering removing firearms from the house.
A recent article in the Huffington Post provides some tips on how to handle the issue of firearms while you are going through a divorce.
- Always tell your attorney that there are weapons in the house, just in case.
- Make sure the gun is locked away and empty, even in the most amicable divorce cases.
- If you or your children are victims of abuse, get all weapons out of the house immediately. You can contact law enforcement or rent a storage facility that your spouse doesn’t know about.
- Have a safety plan in place, such as keeping a charged cell phone and car keys by your side at all times, so that you can call 911 if events escalate out of control.
- Always remember that guns are not the only dangerous weapons in a household. If you have any reason to fear for your safety, leave immediately. Go to a relative or friend’s house or find a shelter for battered women in your community.
When it comes to divorce and guns, always go with your instincts. Your safety should be your top priority.
The attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates assist individuals who are victims of domestic violence in obtaining restraining orders in North Carolina. Talk to a qualified family law attorney in Raleigh by calling 888-975-0465 or filling out our online contact form.