Every once in a while we read a story that absolutely makes our blood boil. And we'll be honest, a lot of the time the story has something to do with guns. Kids getting a hold of an unsecured gun in the home and injuring or killing themselves or someone else. A person who had no business owning a weapon using that weapon to destroy the lives of as many people as they can. Mass shootings at places of worship or schools or workplaces or movie theaters. We're not going to get into the debate over gun rights, but we think everyone can agree that the gun laws in this country need to be better.
A recent story along these lines has us seeing red, and is just one more example of how much this country fetishizes guns over actual human life. A woman in Florida was arrested and charged with armed burglary after she removed guns from her estranged husband's home and turned them into police. The husband had been arrested the day before for trying to kill her with his car. So naturally, police arrested the wife.
When Courtney Irby brought her estranged husband's guns to police after he was arrested for domestic violence, she was arrested. He was released the day after his arrest, but she spent five nights and six days behind bars.— The Marshall Project (@MarshallProj) June 21, 2019
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Courtney Irby is a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband, Joseph. According to an arrest affidavit, Joseph Irby was arrested after he followed Courtney from the courthouse following a divorce hearing, and repeatedly rammed her car with his, forcing her off the road. Courtney called police and told them she feared for her life (she's had to seek multiple protective orders against him in the past). He was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The following day, a judge granted Joseph a pretrial release, with the condition that he not own, possess, or carry guns. Knowing that her estranged husband would never turn his guns in himself, Courtney went to his residence, collected an assault rifle and handgun, and drove them straight to the Lakeland Police Department to surrender them.
This is where the story goes from bad to worse. When Courtney arrived at the station, she informed the officer that her husband had been arrested the day before and ordered not to possess any weapons. The officer questioned Courtney about taking the firearms, and told her she was admitting to a crime. She was arrested at the station, charged with armed burglary of a residence and grand theft of a firearm. Courtney spent FIVE NIGHTS AND SIX DAYS behind bars before being granted bond. Remember - her husband, who tried to kill her, was released THE FOLLOWING DAY.
She was trying to protect herself and her child from a volatile and violent man, and she was arrested and spent a week in jail. Her lawyer, Lawrence Shearer, says what Courtney did does even qualify as theft under Florida law, and he's hopeful that the state's attorney will do the right thing and drop the charges. Injustice does not even begin to describe this story. We sincerely hope Courtney and her child are safe and protected from their abuser.