Today in terrible ideas: a new pair of bills proposed by New Hampshire Republicans would seek to put fresh red tape between police and their ability to arrest domestic abusers in the state. There's no way this could possibly go wrong!
New Hampshire currently has some of the most liberal anti-domestic violence laws in the US, but the proposed legislation would undo many of the protections the law currently offers to victims of domestic violence.
House Bill 1608 would require the state to ease up on enforcing restraining orders issued against domestic abusers, requiring an abuser to violate the restraining order against him or her three times before he or she could be arrested again. The bill would remove a judge's discretionary power in ordering the arrest of a perpetrator before three restraining order violations. According to law enforcement, this bill would also remove a judge's ability to bar a domestic abuser from purchasing a gun, or to require the abuser to relinquish weapons. Awesome!
The "two" in this one-two punch of mind boggling WTF-ery is House Bill 1581. As it stands now, police have the authority to arrest suspected domestic abusers if they arrive at the scene of a disturbance and find signs that an assault occurred— injuries, broken glass, furniture in disarray, etc. But the new law would require the police officer to either witness the abuse occurring or return to the scene with a judicial warrant before making the arrest. As an op-ed in the Concord Monitor points out, if only one officer responded to a domestic disturbance call, then he or she would have to leave the scene to acquire a warrant, even if it was clear that an assault had been interrupted. You don't need a fancy law degree to know that this could seriously endanger the lives of the abuser's victim or victims, especially if the abuser suspects that the victim was the one who called for help.
Congratulations, New Hampshire Republicans. You win today's What The Fuck Is Wrong With You? Award.