What does someone have to do in order to lose gun rights in Georgia? Apparently, sexually assaulting a woman at gunpoint—even threatening to anally penetrate her with the gun—is not enough. Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress reports on the shocking case of Dennis Krauss, a now former police officer who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1999 who had called 911 to complain that her husband was beating her. According to the appeals court decision that upheld Krauss’ conviction, instead of helping the woman, Krauss threatened to take her to jail if she didn’t have sex with him.
Krauss checked them into a motel room while the woman sat terrified, thinking she was under arrest, in the car. “I had to, I was afraid to leave, he, you know, he is a police officer; you don’t just leave,” the victim explained. Once he had her in the motel room, according to the 2003 appeals court decision, “Krauss took his gun from his gun belt and told the victim he wanted to have anal sex with her with the gun.” Then he pushed her, pulled off her pants, and raped her.
Despite Krauss’ sexual assault conviction, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles restored his right to carry a firearm in July 2013. This is coming to light now because the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published an exposé of the Georgia courts’ tendency to restore gun privileges to convicted felons. The Journal-Constitution counted 358 violent felons who were able to regain gun rights in a six-year period, 32 who killed someone and 44 who were convicted of sex crimes.
Krauss was not only convicted of this particular sexual assault, but had a record that “was filled with allegations of misconduct,” according to the Journal-Constitution. The allegations: “that he beat a prisoner so severely the man’s brain bled; that he threatened to fabricate charges against a suspect so he could sleep with the man’s wife; that he pressured at least 10 women for sex to avoid arrest.”
Last week, the Charleston Post and Courier published a major investigative report on how a conservative culture that puts an emphasis on gun rights but not on women’s rights has led to South Carolina’s high domestic homicide rate. This case suggests that Georgia is suffering from a similar problem of skewed priorities, allowing the gun lobby to run rampant over not just women’s rights but basic common sense. Surely keeping guns out of the hands of men who are convicted of sexual assault at gunpoint is not too big an ask.