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Emotionally manipulative disinformation by Governor Hochul
Gov. Hochul does not mention due process considerations a single time in her article, despite the fact that due process is at the very center of the Rahimi case.
Submitted to the New York Times on July 14, 2023.
To the Editor:
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's July 11 editorial is emotionally manipulative and misleading. As Jacob Sullum explained in his syndicated column, restraining orders are relatively easy to obtain in all fifty states. The person issued the order need not even be convicted of a crime in order to have his property taken away by the state, and once property is taken it is often very difficult to get it back. This is why there is so much scrutiny over civil asset forfeiture commonly used in the War on Drugs against people who have not even been charged, much less convicted, of a crime.
The Rahimi case, despite Gov. Hochul's propaganda, is not about protecting domestic violence victims from gun violence. Obviously anyone convicted of domestic violence can and often should be prohibited from owning guns, as part of their punishment upon conviction. But restraining orders do not require a conviction by a jury after a fair trial. Someone can have his guns taken away, and be prohibited from exercising his Second Amendment rights, without ever being convicted of a crime. This is ultimately about due process.
Gov. Hochul claims that the Fifth Circuit made a "decision in favor of abusers." This language is needlessly inflammatory, and borders on the fearmongering we hear from the likes of QAnon. It is also not true, and Gov. Hochul does not mention due process considerations a single time in her article. This type of language falls well below what we should expect from government officials, especially at the high level where Gov. Hochul serves. She should apologize for misleading her constituents and contributing to even more anger and division in our public square.
It is important to protect women who have been subject to domestic violence, and one way to do that is to expedite gun licenses for women who get protective orders. Knowing a victim is armed can serve as a powerful disincentive to a potential abuser who may violate a restraining order and attempt to do harm to a spouse or intimate partner. Police could also check in more frequently with both partners to dissuade violence. These solutions are far better than tearing up the Fifth Amendment.
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