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Connecticut Senators Propose Gun Ban for Those Under Temporary Restraining Orders

Federal legislation intended to trump a patchwork of state laws that vary on possession and purchasing rights when domestic violence is alleged.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

August 8, 2013 - 5:16 pm

Connecticut senators forced to rethink their gun-control strategy after the upper chamber’s abandonment of sweeping legislation this spring have introduced a targeted bill that would take guns away from those under temporary restraining orders.

The Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) crafts a federal law to enforce what currently falls under a patchwork of varied state laws.

Some states require surrender of weapons for even a temporary order; Blumenthal and Murphy’s bill would prohibit purchases or possession by anyone under a temporary restraining order.

Other states have more detailed circumstances in which gun surrender is required, others wait until a court hearing where the accused is heard and a full injunction is granted, others give officials the authority to request that guns are turned over but don’t require it, and yet others prohibit gun possession but don’t have surrender requirements. Some ban new purchases and transportation of guns.

Gun-rights advocates have lobbied against state laws that take away any rights before a full injunction is decided upon, while advocates for victims of domestic violence say the weapons surrender is not necessarily permanent and defuses the situation at the most volatile moment when a restraining order is first granted.

In 2010, 241 males and 1,095 females were murdered by an intimate partner, according to the Justice Department. Out of all the women killed with a firearm that year, two-thirds were slain by an intimate partner.

Blumenthal said that the risk of homicide for women in a domestic violence situation goes up by 500 percent if there’s a gun in the picture.

“Victims who seek temporary restraining orders do so under life and death circumstances. Unfortunately, in many instances, our laws fail to adequately protect these victims at the moment they are most vulnerable—when a temporary restraining order has first been issued,” Blumenthal said.

“The presence of a gun at this highly volatile moment can be catastrophic,” he continued. “My bill, the Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, would make it a federal crime for those subject to a temporary restraining order to possess a gun. This is common sense legislation that will save lives.”

Murphy said “the terrifying stories of domestic violence are gut-wrenching and the statistics don’t lie—domestic violence and guns are a truly lethal combination.”

“Many domestic violence situations are at their most dangerous early on, and that’s when many state and federal laws are surprisingly weak,” he said. “We already know that requiring background checks for firearms purchases is the right thing to do—this bill will help keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people at the wrong time.”

In Connecticut, those under a temporary restraining order through civil courts cannot purchase a gun but are not required to surrender their firearms until a permanent injunction is granted. In the criminal courts, those under restraining orders have two days to sell or surrender their firearms.

Advocates pitching for the bill alongside Blumenthal and Murphy said that between 2000 and 2011, 66 people in Connecticut were killed by an intimate partner wielding a gun.

In March, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced a bill to extend gun restrictions in federal law from abusive spouses to abusive dating partners as well. The legislation, modeled after existing California law, has lingered in committee since April with no co-sponsors.

“Our current legal system makes an arbitrary distinction between protections for dating partners and protections for spouses and ex-spouses, creating a loophole in our gun laws and increasing danger for domestic violence victims and survivors. This is wrong and that’s why I authored the Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that all abused women, whether married or not, are provided the same protections,” Capps said.

The bill also allows for an emergency hearing to trigger a temporary prohibition on possession of a firearm before a full hearing on a restraining order can be scheduled.

“This bill would provide greater security for domestic violence survivors by protecting them during the time when they are most at risk, in the minutes, hours and days immediately after leaving a violent partner,” Capps added. “An abusive ex-boyfriend with a gun is no less lethal than an abusive ex-husband with a gun. It is time for federal law to join 18 states in recognizing that reality.”

The Connecticut senators’ broader push for gun control after the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary culminated in Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yanking the sweeping bill in April after gun-rights Democrats supported Republicans in blocking the Toomey-Manchin compromise amendment on background checks.

Four Democrats voted “no” on the amendment, which needed 60 votes: Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Reid voted no as a procedural move that allows him to bring the bill back later. Four Republicans voted “yes”: Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

A Blumenthal amendment to limit ammunition magazines to ten rounds also failed 46-54.

Blumenthal and Murphy drew some criticism during the gun-control debate for having families from the Newtown shooting at press conferences, lobbying on Capitol Hill, and filling the gallery during votes.

In May, Murphy called new NRA president Jim Porter “really kind of the wing nuts’ wing nut.”

“And he exposes what the NRA has really become. I mean, the NRA kind of announced this weekend they’re morphing into a paramilitary group, that essentially they’re going to be advocating for armed resistance to the U.S. government,” Murphy said. “…So, when you got an NRA president going out there and saying we need to arm Americans in order to fight our government, well, that sells a lot more guns and that means more dues into the NRA and that means a little bit bigger budget to play with.”

Before the Senate recessed last week, Reid told Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America that he expects the gun bill including the expanded background checks to return to the Senate floor — not anytime soon, but in time for midterms.

“I think sometime next year we’ll revisit that issue,” Reid said, according to The Nation. “I’m almost certain of it.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
More "magical" thinking....

If someone has a mind to murder an ex-wife, for example, he sure as hell isn't going to worry about breaking a law that says he has to give up his guns because some a-hole judge issues a restraining order.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When we were dealing with it with LEOs, we just had a tacit understanding that we wouldn't take their gun until there was an order after an adversarial hearing, In my and most states a PO'd woman can just go see the nice lesbians at the "women's shelter" and get a DV writ against a husband or SO. Hell, in my and most states a kid can get one if their parents try to get them to do something they don't want to do.

Like most do-gooder legislation domestic violence laws rarely if ever protect actual victims of domestic violence by sure give a lush playing field for vicious, avaricious women, rotten kids, and scumbag attornies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'an abusive x-hubby w/ a gun is no less lethal than a x-boyfriend, or an x-wife, or an x-girlfriend'. there - fixed that for you. remember , uncle colt made everybody equal. too bad the law has such problems understanding it.

there have been several problems in the past w/ these kinds of laws. one which comes to mind is the mandatory taking of guns away from cops, sheriffs, soldiers, security guards and so forth during a divorce or having a vindictive, drug crazed or unbalanced spouse (or a thousand other reasons). it can and often does rob an honest person of their livelihood or constitutionally guaranteed rights. all the while expecting them (under penalty of law) to provide support by performing these same gun related duties. something easily fixed by being conscious of the wording, and making sure this temporary situation is immediately removed from the files.

yeah, right - that's funny. with this nutty congressional crowd, probably take thousands of pages to screw it up royally, as usual. of course, as usual, congress, their families, their staff and everybody else they want will be exempt. by the time it gets through committees there will be several billion$ more spent on pork project attachments. maybe they can 'DEEM' it passed if they don't have the votes, like obama-care.

I wouldn't trust these congresscritters to vet a presidential nominee properly, much less do something important. what a bunch of maroons.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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Like typical leftist who would like to hang folks before a trial and defend those that have been convicted!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a gun-rights organization in CT named Connecticut Carry.
www.CTCarry.com.

Checkj out their Press Release of 8 August. Their attorney has "put the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on notice that we are seeking an FBI investigation of criminal deprivation of rights under color of law with regards to statements made [by Blumenthal & Murphy] during a news conference held August 2nd."

Read the letter here: http://ctcarry.com/Document/Download/c916ee24-5588-4c72-87fe-1c375c49eab0

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I doubt killers will be dissuaded by any restrictive law.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
test
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think it is clearly time to get temporary restraining orders against everyone who votes to pass this ridiculous bill in Connecticut. The reason for each time is simply they threatened to hurt me by taking away my constitutionally guaranteed rights. They should be just as easily disarmed as every citizen they want disarmed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is mind-boggling how fast TRO's get issued, and even enforced, but it seems to take forever (and sometime does) to get them rescinded after the problem has been resolved. We hear all the time about someone being denied a purchase on a NICS check because of a TRO that was issued 25-yrs previously, and was never pulled back.
The Family Law legal-beagles will throw a TRO against you for just about any reason, but just try to get your wife/girl-friend/whatever issued with a TRO to prevent an abortion....not in the emanation from that penumbra.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would check Murphy's quote about the NRA turning "Paramilitary" for accuracy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have an idea; how about making sure all parties to the domestic controversy are well armed to ensure separate but equal domiciles? Call it the weapons parity during marriage dissolution act: if the husband has knives or can get them at any time in violation of a restraining order, the wife gets to have a nine millimeter with high capacity magazines too, and the kids go to a foster home. Are foster homes weapons free zones?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it make more sense to provide those obtaining the temporary restraining order with a firearm and ammunition for their own protection?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I believe they have that freedom already.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is why preventing background checks is more important than crime control. If the government could tell who owned what guns they might be able to enforce laws such as this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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