I know this sounds like the worst bedtime book in the world but believe it or not it happens…a lot. Here is how it goes.  Remember when you were young and your parents would get in a knock down drag out screaming match that would wake up the neighborhood? If that does not sound familiar it is pretty safe to say you were not raised at my house. There was never really any physical violence, just words that would slice through the heart and glares that would punch a hole in your head. Well back in those days if the town police dropped by to check on the conflict because of a complaint….local law enforcement would calm everyone down, send Dad next door to the neighbor’s house and send Mom to bed. These days the cookie crumbles just a little different. Law enforcement comes in and the first thing they do is separate the conflict participants. An officer takes Mom into one room, Dad goes out on the porch and the interrogation interviews proceed. The questions sound logical enough and the answers sound pretty normal as well. What seems to be the problem? “Well I work all day long and he drinks all day long” No harm no foul right? But remember, Dad is out on the porch. If any of you have ever had any experience with this type of police encounter you have already guessed what is going to happen next…Drunk in public, even on your own porch is a pretty common occurrence.  The Deputy is speaking with Dad about how much he has had to drink and how this whole thing got started. “Well she is always threatening me in front of the kids, she says she is going to knock me over the head with a frying pan and she threw a beer bottle at me and it’s a good thing I ducked cause it smashed her glass cabinet where she keeps all her collectibles” … you guessed right again, assault on a family member. Wait a minute, I thought you said he ducked? That’s right! Assault is just the threat of violence, battery is the actual physical part of domestic violence. So let’s review. Dad is going to jail for drunk in public. Mom is going to jail for assault on a family member. The kids can hopefully go to a neighbor’s house or a relative’s if the officers are empathetic enough to allow it. The alternative is emergency foster care as well as the unexpected interruption of  family life. Mom won’t be able to have contact with Dad for 72 hours because of the mandatory protective order. She will however have to appear in court for arraignment and again for trial. Remember why Mom was mad in the first place? She works, he drinks. Good chance she may lose some pay over this, maybe even her job…and another thing, Mom can no longer own a firearm, purchase a firearm or use a firearm…ever. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban is an amendment to the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, enacted by the 104th United States Congress in 1996, which bans access to firearms by people convicted of crimes of domestic violence. The Act is often referred to as “the Lautenberg Amendment” after its sponsor, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D – NJ). So what did we learn? Things are different today than they were a few years ago. There are 101 ways to get arrested…try not to make this common occurrence one of them.

 

 

 

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