Restraining orders, also known as protection orders, are one of the mechanisms at law for individuals to keep a violent or unstable person away from them. Whilst they do work, after a fashion, there are instances when they haven’t and the results can be deadly.
People legally able to carry after getting a restraining order against someone should seriously consider getting a concealed carry permit and arming themselves.
Protection Orders Can Work and For Both Genders
Most of the time, protection orders connote a female seeking to legally keep an abusive or otherwise threatening male away from her. This can include domestic violence, stalking and many other forms of threatening behavior.
In fairness, that appears to be more common than protection orders filed against women by men, women against other women and men against other men. It’s hard to nail down how it breaks down by gender, but a 2002 study of protection orders (across all types legally available) in California found 72.2 percent of restraining orders are filed by women against men, according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Quantification isn’t exact; protection orders are a matter of state law and most jurisdictions don’t publish how many restraining orders are active at any given moment. Furthermore, there are several categories of restraining order at law, though not all states differentiate between them. Besides domestic violence, there are also specific protection orders for sexual assault, harassment and stalking.
However, there are a smattering of studies with various findings. For instance, a 2002 Journal of the American Medical Association study found an 80 percent reduction in police-reported physical violence in the 12 months after a protection order was sought against an abuser. An archived 1999 article from the Denver Post quotes a 1994 study by the National Center for State Courts which reports that two-thirds of restraining orders are never violated, but also a 1993 Urban Center study wherein 60 percent of women reported an abuser violating the protection order.
Politifact was told by the Wisconsin state bar that research suggested an efficacy rate of “40 to 80 percent.” They also quoted some research by the Department of Justice, which found insufficient evidence to suggest they worked or they didn’t.
Except When Restraining Orders Don’t Work
What seems to be clear about restraining orders is that they can work…except when they don’t. It doesn’t take much to find numerous examples of people who had restraining orders that were assaulted or murdered by the person they were seeking to distance themselves from.
One can not only find recent instances where it has happened, one can find that it appears to happen regularly. A quick search of Google will show that such incidents not only occur, but they occur all the time. Not only that, but they occur internationally; this is not something that’s native to only the United States.
It can therefore be assumed that no matter where a person is, a deranged, violent person determined to do someone harm is going to do somebody harm if they have the opportunity, no matter what a judge and piece of paper say.
Unfortunately for much of the rest of the world, there is something unique to the United States – the Second Amendment. While some states actively seek to curtail the rights of their citizens through inconsistently-enforced, arbitrary or draconian laws regarding concealed carry, many states do not.
Seek Legal Remedies, But Carry
The first thing a person – be they male, female, transgender, black, white, whatever – should do when posed an active danger by a person that’s in their lives is seek whatever legal remedies they possibly can, including temporary or permanent restraining orders. Distance needs to be put between them and the person threatening them.
However, even these steps may not be enough, which is why a concealed carry permit and a concealable firearm are a good insurance policy, just as it is for anyone else.
One wonders how many people might be alive today if a stalker, abusive spouse or otherwise found them armed.
Police and the criminal justice system are generally good at the functions they perform, but there are gaps where they offer no protection. Police response times, for instance, confirm this; help may take too long to arrive. This is one of the reasons why many keep a gun in their home or carry daily, and also why people who aren’t legally prohibited to do so should.