A Connecticut bill that would require accused domestic abusers to surrender their firearms without due process is on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature into law.
According to CTPost, the bill was approved 23-13 after nearly three hours of debate, with Senate Republicans failing to amend the bill.
The pending legislation proposes that alleged domestic abusers -the majority of cases involving a male- would be required to surrender their firearms and ammunition if their partners seek temporary restraining orders, regardless of due process or proof.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy -who proposed the legislation- announced after the vote that he fully supports the bill and will pass it into law.
“We have a moral obligation to work to prevent needless tragedy and to make this the law,” Malloy said in a statement just after the vote. “Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. Between 2000 through 2012, Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year, and firearms were the most commonly used weapons. When an instance of domestic violence rises to the point that a temporary restraining order is needed, we must do everything we can to prevent tragedy.”
While 5,000 temporary restraining orders are issued in Connecticut annually, about half result in permanent restraining orders. The bill would require court hearings within a week and the weapons would be returned five days after the court date if judges deem there is no threat.
“The right to live is more important than any other right we have,” said Senator Mae Flexer, who has worked in recent years on domestic-violence issues.
Meanwhile, the weapons and ammunition would remain in police hands, where they would be accounted for and logged on record by serial number. Given the amount of protest gun owners put up when Connecticut demanded gun registration 2014 -with the majority of weapons owners outright refusing to comply, the bill is not sitting well with Republicans.
Claiming that the bill infringes on not one but two Constitutional rights, Republican lawmakers stated their dissent on the issue.
“I do believe we have to honor the Constitution, we have to honor the Second Amendment and we have to honor the rights of individuals,” said Senator Rob Kane.
Senator Michael A. McLachlan said that “persistent” advocates in his district who wanted to see the bill passed had him thinking long and hard over the issue. However, he determined that the “the process of protecting the rights of an individual from a failed Temporary Restraining Order is of big importance to me.”
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