The Connecticut state legislature on Monday passed a bill aimed at seizing the firearms and ammunition from accused domestic abusers. Gov. Dan Malloy (D) has already committed to signing the measure into law:
“Now, Connecticut will take a commonsense step towards strengthening and enhancing our gun violence protection laws. I want to thank every senator who today voted to approve this bill in concurrence with the House, and I look forward to signing it in the coming days,” Malloy said in a statement.
The state Senate voted in favor of the bill on Monday 23-13.
The bill, which passed the House of Representatives last Wednesday with a vote of 104-42, prevents people served with temporary restraining orders from keeping their guns. Alleged abusers now have 24 hours to sell their weapons to a licensed dealer or turn them over to police.
The new legislation — House Bill 5054, “An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence” — changes current law, which states that victims of domestic abuse must first apply for a temporary retraining order and then wait two weeks for a judge to grant a permanent order before the accused’s guns are confiscated. Under the new legislation, a hearing on a full restraining order must be held within seven days. If a permanent order is not granted, the accused will get their firearms back.
In his statement, Gov. Malloy cited a statistic that, “Between 2000 through 2012, Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year, and firearms were the most commonly used weapons.” However, opponents of the bill argue that it violates the due process rights of the accused, as temporary restraining orders can be obtained without testimony.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League issued a statement after the bill’s passage:
CCDL members have pointed out since the governor introduced this bill, it is nothing but a back door method to force the surrender of firearms with no opportunity for a respondent of such an order to be heard prior to any surrender of legal property. The bill would eliminate the standard protection of ‘Due Process’ as affirmed under the 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
We feel it is important for the public to understand that individuals who may be served with an order of this type do not even have to be charged with any crime, let alone convicted of wrong-doing. It’s very unfortunate that proponents of this bill that hold office and have sworn to uphold our constitution are working hand in hand with groups that are specifically misleading the public. These groups are essentially claiming those who get served with one of these orders are factual domestic abusers based on one-sided claims. Also, there are already at least two existing laws that work better to protect people who may be at risk of harm.
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