Witkos Authors Legislation to Protect Domestic Violence Victims [Rep-Am]

February 9, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Republican American

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is seeking to change state law to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence.

The governor’s office announced Friday afternoon that Malloy will be proposing legislation to prohibit possession of firearms for anyone who becomes subject to a temporary restraining order.

State law authorizes judges to grant such a temporary order if an applicant alleges an immediate and present physical danger. However, a judge must conduct a hearing before issuing a permanent restraining order.

The temporary order covers the two-week period between the application for a permanent restraining order and the hearing on the request.

Malloy said this is too long.

“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,” he said.

In May, an estranged husband broke into his in-laws’ Oxford home and shot his wife to death the day before a scheduled hearing on her request for a permanent restraining order.

The governor’s proposal will require that individuals relinquish their firearms shortly after the judge’s temporary restraining order is issued.

State lawmakers are also proposing legislation.

Rep. Mary G. Fritz, D-Wallingford, introduced a bill identical to the governor’s proposal. Her House district includes part of Cheshire.

Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, authored legislation to permit judges to order the temporary transfer of firearms upon the issuance of a restraining order, civil protection order or family violence protective order. His Senate district includes part of Torrington.

Under the Witkos bill, the court would order firearms transferred to a person eligible to possess them for a period not to exceed two weeks.

Both bills have been referred to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.