What John Frey Doesn’t Understand

In Stories by Katherine Woodhouse McGerald

John Frey doesn’t understand domestic violence. In defense of his vote against HB 5054-An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence he stated “The appropriate action in a situation where there’s domestic abuse is for the threatened party to call the police. The police come to your house, they remove it [the gun] immediately. There’s no 24 hours.” (Ridgefield Press, 10/6/16). Unfortunately, this is isn’t what always happens, but Frey chose not to educate himself about the dynamics of domestic violence.

I have represented victims of domestic violence in Family Court and was a prosecutor in the sex crimes unit and domestic violence unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.  I understand how civil courts and criminal courts work.  There are many reasons why victims of domestic violence choose to get a civil restraining order vs calling the police — they don’t want the person they love to get arrested, they are afraid of the police, they fear further violence from their partners if they call the police, they want their partners to still be able to work, their partners have threatened to call child protective services if they call the police, their partners have threatened to take the kids away, their partners have coercively controlled them for many years, they can be evicted for calling the police to their homes, to name just some. It’s not as simple as just calling the police, but this is something Frey doesn’t understand.

In NY, where I practice, removing firearms after an ex-parte order of protection is issued has been the law for as long as I can remember (at least since 1999) and the system works. Women are most at risk when they leave their abusers and access to firearms makes this risk even more real. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but abusers with firearms are extremely dangerous.

Claiming it’s a due process violation is a red herring and shows a clear lack of understanding the law. Had Frey sought the advice of attorneys, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or The Women’s Center in Danbury, he would understand the serious risk posed to domestic violence victims when they separate from their partners and the heightened risk if abusers possesses firearms.

Frey can claim to support victims of domestic violence, but his vote against 5054 and his prior vote not to fund domestic violence shelters clearly shows otherwise. This means he doesn’t get my vote in November.


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