The Washington Times - March 13, 2009, 12:20PM

If one lawmaker has his way and a bill making its way through the Maryland House of Delegates passes, victims of domestic abuse will be armed. Welcome relief for women like pop-star Rihanna, especially if attacked again. This time they’ll be armed to fight back. (And their attackers might think twice before unloading. House Bill 359, being debated by Anne Arundel County Delegate Tony McConkey, would consider domestic violence victims who have received final protective orders against their abusers as having “good and substantial” reason to wear, carry and transport a handgun, according to the AP.

But don’t expect domestic violence advocates to come rallying for victims on this bandwagon. In fact, they oppose it. Which sounds counter-intuitive to their goal of protecting women from their abusers. Executive director of the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ken Noyes, tells me:


“Women are more likely to be harmed by guns in the home.”

He added that he is concerned with “explosive episodes of violence,” that can occur if victims own a gun. Explosive violence? How about the explosive violent episode that had Chris Brown “allegedly” bashing Rihanna’s face in with his fists and choking her to the point of a blackout while “allegedly” saying he’d kill her? He seemed to have come pretty close. And he didn’t need a gun. According to the police report, a helpless Rihanna could only cower and cover her face as a way to “protect” herself. Still, says Noyes:

“I do have a problem with the message it [being armed] sends victims.”

Delegate McConkey doesn’t understand “how intellectually they can be consistent.” Neither do I.

While McConkey’s legislation came well before the Rihanna-Chris Brown dust-up, it’s adding fuel to the domestic violence discussion and should put other jurisdictions on notice. The delegate became concerned last year when Maryland (a restrictive “shall issue” state) State Police were refusing to accept a victim’s personal protective orders (worth the paper their written on) as “persuasive” when deciding to grant a handgun permit to residents.

Here’s one more suggestion to go along with the legislation: Since domestic violence advocates aren’t interested and the National Rifle Association contends that “self-defense is a basic right,” I think the NRA should step up its efforts in reaching out to victims of domestic violence, the way McConkey has. Fact is, guns are not only the top selling item in America today but the number of accidental gun accidents among children in homes is down 89 percent since 1972, and the number of women who have enrolled in gun safety classes and now own hand guns, has consistently been on the rise for several years. Among the issues the civil-rights organization touts – domestic violence should be added to its portfolio.

Apparently these women, who are strong and courageous enough to leave their abusers, are too dumb to learn how to handle a gun and certainly can’t be trusted to keep one in her own home. Amazing.

Tara Wall is editor of