Criminal Domestic Violence: Let’s get it right in South Carolina (Op-Ed)

Op-Ed by S.C. Sen. Tom Corbin (R–Travelers Rest):

Typically, when we hear the words criminal domestic violence we think of someone severely abusing their spouse. We often see the pictures of CDV, and they can be very upsetting.

A CDV bill was introduced in the S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee several weeks ago. As a member of this committee, my first thought was: "Great. I can be a part of putting guilty abusers away for a very long time."

Then I read the bill.

The bill has two main parts. The first part is excellent! It significantly increases the penalties for those convicted of CDV offenses. It then categorizes the offenses and increases the penalties for convicted offenders into distinct categories and increases the penalties for abusers. However, intermingled throughout this bill are provisions that strip people of their 2nd Amendment rights, and in some instances without due process, which is a violation of our Constitution. Because of this, it is my belief that this bill, as written, is not the best it could be for our state.

To fully understand the bill, it is important to know what CDV entails. CDV includes not only spouses, but any former spouses and people who co-habitate (or have formerly co-habitated), as well as people who have a child in common. All of these categories of people fall under CDV laws. There are several types of abuse which often occur within CDV cases. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial. This can be a broad range for potential abusers.

I believe most of us agree that we all want a tool which will work and one where we can actually put serious abusers behind bars where they belong. However, including such harsh 2nd Amendment restrictions will cause people to evade the plea process, thus demanding a jury trial. This will likely back our court system up for years. I don’t think anyone has that intent with this bill, but it will be another one of those “unintended consequences.” People who seriously inflict harm upon others need to be put away quickly.

This bill also takes away 2nd Amendment rights for CDV Third Degree (a misdemeanor) when there is no physical contact. It takes away your 2nd Amendment rights on orders of protection or if you have a restraining order placed against you.

As I understand our constitutional right to “due process,” we are to be provided a trial by jury before losing such rights, and you certainly shouldn’t be stripped of your rights prior to being found guilty.

Finally, while researching this bill I found it to be connected to series of state CDV bills which are being pushed by the liberal, former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun group, Everytown USA. I brought this connection to light weeks ago in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, and since then both the Wall Street Journal and Fox News have reported on the Bloomberg connection to this SC bill. The Main Street media is yet to report on it. I wonder why!

I will vigorously fight in Columbia for a good CDV bill — one that works and, above all, one that protects and helps victims. I know that I will continue to get pushback from those that think the U. S. Constitution is just a piece of paper. I have come under vicious attacks from the left and those that would love to take our 2nd Amendment rights away without due process.

We can have a bill that both protects CDV victims and that does not violate the Constitution.

Let’s do what’s right in South Carolina. Separate these two issues and put the convicted abusers behind bars while still constitutionally protecting our 2nd Amendment rights.