Senator Beth Bye was joined by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and domestic violence prevention advocates and state officials on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
Submitted by Lawrence B. Cook
On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) joined with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, domestic violence prevention advocates and state officials to urge the legislature to pass new laws that will protect women and families from gun violence, including a proposal to close the loophole in state laws that allows recipients of temporary restraining orders to legally buy and own guns.
Between 2000 and 2011, 175 people in Connecticut were killed by an intimate partner, and 38 percent of these homicides were committed with a firearm.
“We need to close the window of opportunity for murder when a woman seeks to end an abusive relationship with a man who has a firearm,” Sen. Bye said. “Securing a violent individual’s firearms and ammunition after a sworn affidavit is submitted citing specific instances of abuse makes sense, tramples no one’s rights, and could lead to quicker and safer resolutions for all involved.”
Senate Bill 650, co-sponsored by Sen. Bye, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and others, provides greater protection to applicants who are granted temporary restraining orders by Connecticut courts. Among other provisions, the bill requires the temporary surrender of all firearms and ammunition that the subject of a restraining order may possesses, along with any firearms permit issued.
“Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. That makes gun violence a women’s issue – for mothers, for families, for me and you,” said Congresswoman Giffords, who is co-founder of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Women can lead the way. Together, we can change our laws.”
This is Giffords’ second visit to Connecticut in the last six months; last fall, she held a roundtable discussion with local women leaders to discuss the connection between firearms and domestic violence and the need for stronger state and federal laws.
“It is beyond dispute that one of the most dangerous times in an abusive domestic relationship is the period immediately following the service of a temporary restraining order,” said Senate President Looney. “This is a critical reform that will better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives.”
“Connecticut averages 14 intimate partner homicides annually with the majority of those deaths occurring through gun violence,” said Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The period immediately following a victim’s application for a restraining order is often the most dangerous time. If a judge sees fit to issue a temporary order due to the existence of physical violence, there does exist cause for policies to immediately remove firearms.”
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