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Hearing on bill to remove guns from people served with temporary restraining orders

HARTFORD —  Gov Dan Malloy is reviving a bill that would take guns from people who are served with temporary restraining orders. Gun advocates say an exis...
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HARTFORD —  Gov Dan Malloy is reviving a bill that would take guns from people who are served with temporary restraining orders.

Gun advocates say an existing law already allows officers to seize guns from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.

A hearing was held on Monday at the state Capitol regarding the bill.

“The reason we’re here today is to stand up against violence against women,” said state Rep. Caroline Simmons, of Stamford, during a press conference in support of the bill. “We think of this as foreign, not happening in our country, but it’s happening in our country. It’s happening right under our noses here in Connecticut, and we have to do something about it.”

Under the current law, a domestic violence victim must apply for a temporary restraining order then wait two weeks for a judge to grant a permanent restraining order before an abusers guns are confiscated.

This new bill would force abusers to turn over their guns within 24 hours of when they are served the restraining order.

It’s an effort to protect women from gun violence during a critical window. Advocates at the press conference said a woman is five times more likely to be killed by a gun when her abuser has access to weapon.

“The minute a woman comes forward and asks for a temporary restraining order, is the most dangerous moment of her life,” said state Sen. Mae Flexer, of Killingly.

The bill is backed by Malloy, but it’s is facing push back from gun rights activists who believe it would violate a person’s right to due process.

“Individuals that are served with one of these orders will not have their opportunity to have a hearing prior to their firearms being seized,” said Scott Wilson, the president of the Connecticut Citizen Defense League. “Keep in mind that these individuals are persons that have not been charged with any crime. There’s no proof or preponderance of evidence that they’ve assaulted anybody or threatened anybody.”

As the law stands now, a gun owner can keep weapons even after being served a restraining order until they appear before a judge.

According to the Associated Press, more than a dozen states have strengthened laws to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence abusers over the last two years.