The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case concerning gun-surrender laws in domestic violence situations. Janet Paulsen is living proof of what’s at stake. (Oct. 31)(AP Video: Sharon Johnson, David Goldman)Janet Paulsen passes a photo of herself as she slowly climbs the staircase at her home in Acworth, Ga., Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Paulsen was shot six times when her estranged husband ambushed her in their garage in 2015 before he turned the gun on himself.
That changed a few days later when she said he tried to track them through a phone locator app, a violation of the protection order that prompted a misdemeanor charge, two hours in jail and a court order to confiscate his guns.
“It took me five years to get up the courage to divorce him, because I knew I would pay a price. And you know what happened when I did? He shot me,” said Paulsen, 53, a former property manager and endurance athlete who was left partially paralyzed in the 2015 shooting. headtopics.com
Scores of people seek protection in King County each week from domestic violence, stalking, school threats or other concerning behavior. When guns are present — as they are in about half of the cases in which domestic violence petitions are granted — the threat of injury or death is exponentially higher, and an interagency team can initiate a gun surrender under state law.
Meanwhile, some state courts are loosening firearm bans for other reasons. Gun surrender orders are on hold in at least five counties in Washington after a state appeals court said they violated a man’s Fourth Amendment right protecting individuals from improper search and seizures and Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. headtopics.com
“Isabelle,” who asked that her real name not be published to protect her and her family, obtained a domestic violence protection order in a rural Washington county in May, but the judge refused to order her estranged husband to surrender his estimated 40 weapons. Her spouse was instead told not to “possess” them. But with no enforcement, Isabelle has no guarantees.