Prosecuting Florida woman who turned in estranged husband’s guns sets ‘scary precedent,’ lawmaker says
“Ms. Irby was seeking help from the Lakeland Police Department and taking action to protect herself and her children,” Eskamani, a Democrat, said in the letter to Polk County State Attorney Brian Haas. “We should be outraged by her arrest, and I am requesting that your office not prosecute her.”
I’ve read several reports on this, and done some searches. The TL;DR:
1. Courtney Irby unlawfully entered another person’s home.
2. While there, she tossed the place and stole at least two firearms.
3. While Mrs. Irby has reportedly had restraining orders (RO) against her husband in the past, I found only one claim that there was one in place at the time of the theft. And that claim was that Mr. Irby was arrested for violating an order (the reason he was in jail); jail records do not support that claim, as there are only battery charges and no charge for violating a restraining order.
4. Reports claim Mrs. Irby had applied for another order, but not other report states it had been granted.
5. No report says that any restraining order restricted Mr. Irby’s possession of firearms, not even the allegedly applied-for order. As best I can tell from Florida statutes, a restriction on possession is not automatically inherent in restraining orders, but must be specified by the judge.
6. Regardless, even if an RO barring possession had been issued, turning in any firearms is between law enforcement and the subject of the order. An RO does not allow a hostile third party to enter another person’s home and collect guns.
7. A search turned up no records of Mr. Irby being convicted of any felony, or any domestic violence charge. He does not appear to be a prohibited person for that reason.
8. By reports, Mrs. Irby freely admitted to law enforcement that she unlawfully entered another person’s home and took at least two firearms without that owner’s knowledge or permission. Thus, she is rightfully charged with multiple serious felonies.
Unless State Rep. Anna Eskamani or State Attorney Andrew Warren have some additional information indicating that Mr. Irby was actually barred from possessing firearms and that Mrs. Irby was authorized by court order to enter that home and take possession of the firearms, they need to STFU.
And tell me, Eskamani or Warren: What happens if Mr. Irby goes home, conducts an inventory, and discovers more guns missing than just the two which Mrs. Irby admitted taking to “turn in”? That’s why it wasn’t her place to do the confiscation even if there was a order barring Mr. Irby from possessing firearms.