Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is following through on his election promise to remove firearms from recipients of temporary restraining orders.
The governor announced Friday in a release that the measure will be introduced later this month as part of his budget proposal.
“We know that the period of time immediately following a domestic violence victim’s application for a restraining order is one of the most volatile, and access to a firearm in that situation presents an additional, outstanding threat,” Malloy said. “If a judge determines that a victim is in enough danger that they should be granted a temporary restraining order, that victim should not have to wait until they are fully protected.”
The law currently leaves access to firearms in temporary restraining order cases up to a judge at a hearing that may be held as many as two weeks after the initial order is issued, according to the release.
Connecticut’s U.S. senators have pushed unsuccessfully to pass similar law at the federal level. They named their legislation for Lori Jackson, an Oxford resident who was shot to death by her estranged husband in May. Jackson had a temporary restraining order against her husband at the time.
Domestic violence prevention is an issue for which state Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, has been a long-time advocate. “For several years, Connecticut has been struggling with a way to address this public safety issue, and I believe this proposal finally does that,” she said.
Karen Jarmoc, CEO of Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, cited the state’s average of 14 domestic violence homicides each year. She said guns are the weapon used most frequently.
“We know that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she or he leaves and that a victim in an abusive relationship is five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm,” Jarmoc said.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said the governor’s proposal is necessary to more fully protect those threatened by domestic violence. “Victims must know that government and the courts will take seriously these threats of violence, and this proposal demonstrates the strength of our commitment to their protection,” she said.
State Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, said families, and especially children, should not have to wait weeks for a court hearing when they are in danger because the subject of the temporary restraining order has a gun.
“The gun can always be returned later to the rightful owner, but the bullet that could injure or kill someone cannot be unfired,” Tong said.
Following the campaign, a few lawmakers proposed legislation addressing the same issue earlier in the session.