There is legislation pending signature in the Connecticut that would require alleged domestic abusers surrender all firearms and ammunition. The pending legislation proposes that alleged domestic abusers – most of whom are male - would be required to surrender their firearms and ammunition if their partners seek temporary restraining orders, regardless of due process or proof. “The right to live is more important than any other right we have,” said Senator Mae Flexer (D). Flexer represents Connecticut’s 29th district, which includes the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson, and Windham.
House Bill 5054, An Act to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence, passed the Connecticut senate by a 23-13 vote, having already passed in the state House of Representatives. It now goes to Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), who has vowed to sign. The bill requires firearms owners to surrender their weapons within 24 hours of being served a temporary restraining order in a domestic abuse case.
Currently, state law currently allows for up to 14 days before any firearms can be removed, which Flexer and other proponents of the bill say is too lengthy a period of time, because the days following the service of a temporary restraining order and the days leading up to the first court appearance are often the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence.
“I am proud that the General Assembly has shown the courage to pass this law as a matter of public safety,” said Sen. Flexer, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee and one of the main proponents of the bill. “The period of time after a temporary restraining order is served is the most dangerous time in a domestic violence victim’s life, and access to firearms increases an attacker’s lethality by fivefold. More than twenty other states, including Texas, give victims this type of protection. It is time for Connecticut to put victim safety first—the right to live is more important than any other right we have.”
Connecticut will join more than 20 other states—including Massachusetts, Texas, Utah and New York—which have already passed legislation authorizing or requiring the surrender of firearms at the ex parte stage of the hearing. ‘Ex parte’ is Latin for “one party,” referring to motions, hearings or orders granted by a judge at the request of, and for the benefit of, one party only.
Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year from 2000 to 2012, and firearms were used in 39 percent of those 188 homicides, making them the most commonly used weapons to commit intimate partner homicide.
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