After a battered woman shot her child’s father in self-defense, he got out on bond. She, however, remained in jail, raising a lot of questions about our laws and justice system since she had a shunt in her head from a previous injury and his blows could have proved fatal.
Sgt. Chris Copeland with the Decatur Police Department in Illinois said his officers were sent out to HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital at 6:50 pm on a Sunday evening in response to a man having been shot in his right side, the Herald & Review reported. The unnamed 33-year-old man said he had been shot by the mother of his child in front of his home in the 3800 block of East Grand Avenue, according to Sgt. Copeland.
After authorities began to investigate, however, they soon discovered the dad was far from an innocent victim. According to the 29-year-old woman accused of the shooting — who voluntarily came to the Decatur Police Department for questioning — she shot the father of her child in self-defense after he attacked her while she sat in a vehicle that Sunday evening. And, she had evidence to prove it.
According to Copeland, the woman had several injuries to her face from the man battering her while she was inside her vehicle. And, those injuries could have proved deadly because the woman had a shunt in her head from a previous injury. This shunt could render a blow to the head fatal, Copeland explained. Therefore, according to the woman, she shot her child’s father in self-defense.
But, she didn’t get off scot-free. Instead, both the woman and the man she shot were arrested. The man faced preliminary charges of domestic battery and unlawful vehicular invasion. He was freed after posting $10,000 bond. The woman, however, remained behind bars because she didn’t have a concealed carry license.
Although she was not facing charges for the shooting, she was hit with a preliminary charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for her lack of a concealed carry license. She was held in lieu of $75,000 — 7 1/2 times her abuser’s bond. And, sadly, her situation isn’t unique. Just a week prior, a Chicago woman shot a teenage female who attacked her and tried to steal her property. The woman was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon for not having a concealed carry license, according to The Blaze.
Of course, the initial reaction for many is that everyone should simply follow the law, but others would suggest we consider what that law entails. Since both cases occurred in Illinois, I decided to research just how hard it would have been for these women to obtain the required license. Here’s what I found: Illinois concealed carry license holders go through what’s considered to be the strictest approval process in the country.
First-time CCL applicants must possess a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID), take sixteen hours of classroom and gun range instruction, and pass a 30 round marksmanship test. You must also be at least 21-years-old and pay a $150 an application fee to the state. [Source: NBC]
According to an article written just months before these shootings from NBC, the already difficult and time-consuming process was made even harder because Illinois residents, seeking to legally conceal their guns, were facing longer processing times due, in part, to a lack of adequate staffing to handle renewals and new applications.
While the Illinois State Police said the length of time to process and approve licenses was 90 to 120 days, a survey of customers found it was taking 120 to 140 days for applications to be approved. That’s a long time to wait when you’re a battered woman who has to face your abuser because he’s the father of your child.
Is acting in self-defense with a gun you’re not licensed to carry a more serious offense than beating a woman in her own car? Illinois apparently thinks so. Meanwhile, in fifteen other states, if you can legally own a gun, you can legally carry it without the need for a government permit or license, according to Bearing Arms. In many others, like Florida and Texas, you can have a gun in your vehicle for self-defense without the need for a concealed carry license. So, which states have things right?
Should anyone ever face charges for defending themselves with a legally owned firearm in their own vehicle? Illinois law says yes. Many would argue, however, that these laws, which claim to be “safer” on paper, look like this case in reality. An abuser is set free while a domestic violence victim sits behind bars, waiting to learn whether the local State’s Attorney will proceed with charges against her for defending herself. Where’s the justice in that? There isn’t any. Justice is not served by turning a domestic violence victim into a felon and sending her to prison because she took action to protect herself from grave danger and used a legally owned gun to save her own life.