Representative Anna V. Eskamani’s Statement on The Arrest of Courtney Taylor Irby
Orlando, FL — Courtney Taylor Irby is a Florida woman who was arrested while trying to turn her estranged husband’s guns over to police before he was released on bail following a domestic violence arrest. Irby told police that her husband, Joseph Irby, was in jail for trying to run her over with her car and had gathered his guns after a judge ordered him to turn them over.
“So are you telling me that you committed an armed burglary?” an officer asked her, according to The Ledger. “Yes, I am, but he wasn’t going to turn them in, so I am doing it,” she said.
The officer contacted Joseph, who was still being held at the Polk County Jail, and he told police that he wanted to press charges against Courtney for entering his apartment and taking his guns.
Below is Representative Anna V. Eskamani’s statement on the matter:
“The case of Courtney Taylor Irby demonstrates once more the dangerous linkage between intimate partner violence and access to firearms. Court records show that Irby applied for a temporary injunction against her husband and the two were in the process of a divorce. She was actively protecting herself and her family from an estranged husband who had not turned over his firearms to law enforcement, and was arrested for it. We should be outraged by her arrest, and Irby should not be prosecuted by the local State Attorney’s office.
“In 2018, Florida lawmakers passed a risk protection order law. In Florida, only a law enforcement officer or agency can file a petition for a risk protection order, which should have happened in this case. Federal gun laws already protect women from domestic abusers by prohibiting gun possession for people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” or subject to a final domestic violence restraining order. But dangerous gaps and weaknesses in the system remain at the state level.
“Senator Lori Berman and myself filed SB1206/HB941 to close these gaps. Our bill requires a person convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence to surrender (when convicted) all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to law enforcement. Our bill never got a hearing, but we plan to refile it in 2020.
“According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world for gun violence against women. Women here are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Irby had every reason to be fearful for her life, and should not be prosecuted for turning in firearms to the police.”