Woman Arrested After Handing in Her Husband’s Guns to the Police

Victor Westerkamp
By Victor Westerkamp
June 25, 2019USshare
Woman Arrested After Handing in Her Husband’s Guns to the Police
Courtney Irby and her husband Joseph Irby. (Polk County Sheriff's Office via AP)

A Florida woman was jailed after she handed in her husband’s guns to police, while he was under arrest on charges of domestic violence against her.

Courtney Irby, 32, of Lakeland, Florida, received five days in prison for armed burglary after she took the guns to police.

Florida gun control regulations prohibit gun ownership for people who have been convicted or against whom a restrictive order for domestic violence has been warranted.

Courtney and Joseph Irby, 35, are currently in the middle of an intensely fought divorce, which led to a case hearing at Polk County Courthouse on June 13. After the hearing the couple continued to fight outside the courthouse.

Joseph, who was already under a protection order for threatening and abusing his soon-to-be ex-wife, followed her in his car, after she was drove away from the court. While screaming and yelling at her, he rammed his front bumper into her rear bumper, apparently in an attempt to run her off the road.

Courtney, meanwhile, was trying to contact Bartow Police dispatch on her phone. Later, court files say, police officers confirmed Ms. Irby was “hysterically” crying in fear of losing her life.

Joseph Irby was arrested for domestic violence and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on June 14. The next day, Courtney Irby reportedly sneaked into his house, found his guns, and handed them to the police.

On that occasion, according to the report, she said: “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.”

“So, you are telling me you committed an armed burglary?” the officer then asked.

“Yes, I am, but he wasn’t going to turn them in, so I am doing it,” she said.

Police then consulted Joseph Irby in his cell and asked whether they should press charges against his wife.

The records don’t say what his answer was, but Courtney Irby was arrested and charged with armed burglary and grand theft of a firearm. She had to spend five nights in jail.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando said she was “outraged” when she learned of the case, pressuring State Attorney Brian Haas not to prosecute Courtney Irby.

“When I saw this, the fact that she was arrested in an effort to make sure herself and her family would be safe, I was absolutely outraged by it,” she said, according to Fox News.

“When you’re looking to law enforcement for help, that type of reaction was really misdirected,” Eskamani added. “There absolutely could have been some space to have that dialogue with her and her former partner to mediate the situation versus escalate it through this type of arrest.”

“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,” Eskamani wrote in a news release.

Robert Peddy, Joseph Irby’s attorney, said Courtney should never have broken into his the apartment. He contended that Courtney has over-dramatized the events that transpired. He said his client works hard, is a good, calm family man, and that the truth will eventually come out, according to Fox News.

Assistant State Attorney Jacob Orr told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that the office is “reviewing the allegations and all of the evidence collected by law enforcement.”

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