An Arlington, Texas woman is in jail, facing capital murder charges for the death of her husband and his adult daughter. Veronica Dunnachie, 35, is accused of murdering her husband and his daughter. The couple was having marital difficulties. The bodies were discovered when the police were conducting a welfare check on the home. Dunnachie was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.
Dunnachie was apparently involved in Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County, a Fort Worth based gun rights group. Her Facebook page features a number of photos of her at Open Carry events. It also has pictures of her aiming various guns, and the page includes one profile picture of her donning a red, white, and blue colored Republican elephant necklace.
Dunnachie and her husband were experiencing marital discord. Each of them had put temporary restraining orders out on each other in November. Dunnachie’s cousin described her as an “avid gun user” who regularly posted about her gun use on social media.
The slayings are being investigated as domestic homicides, and the killings had no direct connection to any “open carry” event. Nor should anyone argue that her behavior is typical for open carry advocates. Most open carry supporters are not open fire supporters. However, her actions do undermine the popular mythology within gun culture that presumes that “open carry” supporters are almost automatically virtuous law-abiding gun owners rather than criminals in waiting.
When individuals view guns as the primary solution to their problems, be they real or imagined, it makes sense that some disturbed individuals can carry that logic to its deadly extreme. A person obsessed with brandishing firearms as their primary means of security, who lacks sufficient moral filters, can view that weapon as a means to bring about security by ending a contentious divorce.
Sure, not every open carry activist is jumping to solve their problems with a loaded gun, but Dunnachie’s actions, if true, could cast a shadow over the open carry movement. Would you feel safer in a Kroger store with a woman like her openly toting a rifle through the aisles? It’s a loaded question perhaps, but not a completely unfair one. Texas, could follow the lead of other state’s and at least adopt something like California’s ”gun violence restraining order”. Such a law might have prevented the double slayings in Arlington.
Sure it is an infringement on somebody’s right to bear arms. However, if that person is exhibiting the potential to commit violence or showing signs of mental illness, it is an infringement that might be warranted to protect public safety. Rights carry responsibilities. One thing is certain. If Veronica Dunnachie is convicted of capital murder charges, her right to bear arms will not be extended to her in prison. The government will indeed take guns away. Not because they are tyrannical, but because other people’s right to life and liberty trumps her right to bear arms.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.