Democratic senators introduced Tuesday a bill to keep those under a temporary restraining order from purchasing a firearm for the duration of the court order.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) named the bill after Lori Jackson, a Connecticut resident who was shot and killed by her husband after obtaining a temporary restraining order against him.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) join Blumenthal as co-sponsors.
“When domestic abusers are most dangerous – at the height of their rage – current law is weakest in protecting victims like Lori Jackson from gun violence,” Blumenthal said. “Closing this gaping loophole will save lives when temporary restraining orders leave domestic abuse victims most vulnerable to violent partners with guns.”
The Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Act would prevent the purchase and possession of a firearm by someone subject to a temporary restraining order; current law bans firearms sales only for permanent restraining orders.
Also, the current definition of “intimate partner” used to prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or possessing a firearm includes spouses, former spouses, people with a child in common, and cohabitants. The bill would expand the definition to partners who do not live together or have any children.
“The link between domestic violence and guns is a deadly one, and I urge my colleagues to pass this bill without delay because lives are literally on the line,” added Blumenthal.
“When it comes to the issue of stopping gun violence, there are some proposals that are viewed as controversial. This should not be one of them,” Durbin said. “Today’s legislation will close loopholes that allow abusive partners access to guns in the hours and days when tempers are at their highest following a domestic argument.”
Jackson, 32, fled her husband with their 1 1/2-year-old twins and stayed at her mother’s house in Oxford, Conn. The day before a hearing on the temporary protective order in May, her husband, Scott Gellatly, allegedly broke into the home and killed Jackson. He also faces an attempted murder charge for shooting her mother in the face.
“Sadly, Lori’s story is not unique and will be repeated over and over unless Congress acts to prevent violent abusers from getting guns at the worst possible moment,” Murphy said. “This legislation closes a dangerous loophole, and I challenge any of my colleagues in Congress to look their constituents in the eye and tell them that a domestic abuser under a court-ordered temporary restraining order should be permitted to purchase a new gun.”