In an effort to protect herself, Courtney Irby gave her estranged husband’s guns to police after he was charged with domestic violence, the Associated Press reports, and in turn, police arrested her.
Charged with armed burglary and grand theft, she spent six days in jail after she took the guns from her estranged husband’s apartment and gave them to the police in Lakeland, Florida. At the time, her estranged husband, Joseph Irby, was spending one day in jail, having been accused of ramming into her car after a divorce hearing, the AP reports.
A judge in the case had ordered Joseph Irby not to use, possess, or carry any weapons or ammunition. Courtney Irby didn’t believe he would turn in the guns himself, so she did so, entering his apartment through a locked door without his permission, the AP reports, citing police documents.
Now gun safety advocates are rallying around her, asking a state attorney to drop the charges. Gun rights advocates want her to be prosecuted.
Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani of Orlando spoke out in support of victims of abuse, sending a letter to State Attorney Brian Haas asking that Courtney Irby not be prosecuted. She cited research that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.
“Prosecuting Ms. Irby sets a scary precedent that if someone seeks help to escape abuse, they will be punished for it,” she said on Twitter. “We refuse to accept that standard.”
Read the full story at the Associated Press.