A 33-year-old woman from Lakeland, Florida, was arrested for trying to turn her estranged husband’s firearms in to the police after he’d been charged with domestic violence and attempting to run her over with his car.
Police arrested Joseph Irby and charged him with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Courtney Irby applied for a temporary injunction for protection, and also disclosed that she’d had a number of protective orders against her husband in the past.
The next morning, she testified at her husband’s hearing over the phone. A judge granted Joseph Irby pretrial release with the condition that he not own, possess or carry firearms.
According to an affidavit obtained by BuzzFeed News, Courtney then collected all of her d Joseph’s firearms at his home while he was in police custody and brought them in to the Lakeland Police Department.
When an officer questioned Courtney about how she obtained the guns, she told him, “Well, he was arrested yesterday for trying to run me over with his car, and he is now in jail. So I went to his apartment since he is in jail and I searched his apartment for the guns I knew he had and I took them.”
The officer, Brent Behrens, stated that he proceeded to question her to confirm that she entered Joseph’s home without his permission. “So you are telling me you committed an armed burglary?” he said.
“Yes I am, but he wasn’t going to turn them in so I am doing it,” she then responded, according to Behrens.
Courtney proceeded to tell Behrens about the temporary injunction against her ex, and that she knew he would not turn in his firearms himself despite the mandate by a judge.
While Joseph Irby was released the day after his domestic violence arrest, Courtney Irby spent five nights and six days behind bars before being granted bond.
The issue of disarming domestic abusers has been a key priority for gun safety groups over the past five years. In Florida, like many states, when a domestic abuser is ordered not to own firearms, there is no mechanism to ensure the perpetrator gives them up ― a loophole called the “relinquishment gap.”
The research is clear: When abusers are armed, their victims are far more likely to be killed. In the U.S., a woman is shot to death by an intimate partner every 16 hours. There are an estimated 200 domestic violence deaths in Florida each year. States that mandate alleged domestic violence perpetrators to hand over their firearms ― instead of just telling them no guns allowed ― experience fewer homicides.