Courtney Irby, 32, from Bartow, FL, went to her ex-husband Joseph Irby’s home on June 15 and took two guns from the house. Upon turning the firearms into the Lakeland Police Department for safekeeping, she was arrested and charged with armed burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a firearm, the Miami Herald reports.
Joseph Irby was behind bars at the time — he was arrested after trying to hit Courtney with his car on the day before. The couple, who has two children together, was in court for a divorce hearing. After leaving the courthouse, Joseph followed Courtney and repeatedly rammed his car into her bumper until she was run off the road, per HuffPost. According to an arrest affidavit, Courtney was “uncontrollably crying and advised that she was in fear for her life.” Courtney, an alleged victim of domestic violence, told police she has had several restraining orders against her husband in the past.
Upon Joseph’s arrest, a judge ruled he was not allowed to own, possess, or carry any firearms. Courtney admitted to going to Joseph’s residence, which she had never been to before, to retrieve the guns because she believed “he wasn’t going to turn them in” himself.
Courtney’s concerns are well-founded, as the gun violence epidemic is alive and well in the U.S. Many times, it goes hand-in-hand with cases of domestic violence and abuse. In 2018, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence reported that 525 women are shot and killed by a partner every year. The center also found that “one in three women and one in four men have been the victim of physical violence or stalking” by a partner.
Joseph was released on bail the day after his arrest. He told the Herald that he plans to press charges against Courtney.
A county judge ruled that Courtney is not allowed to possess any firearms or contact Joseph. She was granted bond after six days in jail, HuffPost reports.