Georgia has gone all-in on gun rights recently, most notably with their “Guns Everywhere” law that allows guns in churches, bars, libraries, and even airports and schools. But, even for such a pro-gun state, this is inexplicable. A man convicted of sexual assault who attempted to rape a woman with his gun has had his right to carry a firearm restored.
Think Progress reports:
A Georgia appeals courts decision upholding the sexual assault conviction of a former cop named Dennis Krauss is difficult to read. According to the record in Krauss’ trial, the former officer was dispatched to the home of a woman who called 911 alleging that her husband had hit her. Rather than arresting the husband, however, Krauss asked the victim to ride with him in his police car. Once she was in his car, “Krauss told the victim that he could take her to jail if he wanted to” or, if she did not want to be arrested, she could have sex with him instead. Krauss’ words, according to the court opinion, were “[w]e can go to the motel or you can go to jail.”
At the motel, Krauss drew his service weapon and told the woman that he wanted to anally penetrate her with the gun. When she refused, and began to cry, “Krauss then pushed her back, pulled off her pants, and had sex with her.” And then he drove her home to the same husband that led her to call the police in the first place.
Krauss was convicted of sexual assault against a person in custody, and this one instance of sexual assault is far from the only allegation against him. According to theAtlanta Journal-Constitution, “[h]is record was filled with allegations of misconduct: that he beat a prisoner so severely the man’s brain bled; that he threatened to fabricate charges against a suspect so he could sleep with the man’s wife; that he pressured at least 10 women for sex to avoid arrest.” The former cop, for his part, is unrepentant. When asked about his sexual assault conviction, he claims that “[t]here wasn’t any crime,” and that “I was dealt a bad hand.”
And yet, in July of 2013, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles restored Krauss’ right to carry a firearm. According to a Journal-Constitution tally, he is one of 358 violent felons who regained these rights over a six year period. That includes 32 violent felons who killed someone, and 44 who committed sex crimes. One man regained his right to own a gun in 2012 after serving a 10 year sentence for child molestation and aggravated child molestation. Some offenders regained their gun rights after being convicted of crimes such as armed robbery, burglary or aggravated assault.
Surely, even the state of Georgia can see the dangers of letting a man like this carry a weapon. This is a man convicted of a violent crime and who allegedly committed numerous others. He used his gun to coerce a woman into non-consensual sex, and then attempted to violate her with that very weapon. But, apparently, the right for a man—any man—to carry a gun outweighs the right of women not to be sexually assaulted. Rapist, robbers, murderers, and even child molesters are allowed to carry weapons, and that is completely ludicrous. Each of those 358 violent felons has victimized people, and can now carry a weapon that will allow them to continue their abhorrent behavior.
Courts have ruled repeatedly that violent criminals can have their right to own a gun revoked. Yet, somehow, women and children still get little protection. There has been resistance to keeping guns from domestic abusers or people with violence-related restraining orders. And, in Georgia at least, even serial rapists are free to carry weapons. Or, is sexual assault not a violent crime? Are women not people who should be protected? How about children?
This issue goes far beyond the Second Amendment. For all the gray area over what the founders may have intended, no one could argue that they thought violent criminals should have weapons. This issue is just further proof that women, children, and other victims of violent crime don’t matter to GOP lawmakers, at least not as much as guns do.