Thursday, February 04, 2016
Introduces Bill That Protects Victims of Domestic Violence; Launches Proposal to Align Laws on Carrying a Firearm While Under the Influence with State’s Drunk Driving and Boating Statutes
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is sponsoring legislation designed to protect the victims of domestic violence by prohibiting possession of firearms for anyone who becomes subject to a temporary restraining order, eliminating a critical window of time during which time a victim's life could be at risk.
"This is just commonsense - we should be able to work across party lines on these issues. We should be able to agree that a person with a temporary restraining order should not have a deadly weapon. We are either for protecting victims of domestic violence, or against it," Governor Malloy said. "We should also be able to agree that if you are too drunk to drive, then you're too drunk to carry a gun. Firearms and alcohol don't mix. These initiatives are the right thing to do, and I'm proud to introduce them."
Under current state law, after a temporary restraining order is issued, a hearing must occur before a judge can issue a permanent restraining order and prohibit firearm possession. These hearings often come weeks after the temporary restraining order is issued. The Governor's legislation - House Bill 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence - will make a person temporarily ineligible to possess firearms shortly after a judge issues a temporary restraining order, pending a hearing in court, giving victims additional protection at this critical time.
"We can and must do more to protect victims of domestic violence," Lt. Governor Wyman said. "A woman in an abusive relationship is five times more likely to be killed if her abuser has access to a firearm. This legislation will help de-escalate dangerous situations, reduce the opportunity for fatalities, and save lives."
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 presents an additional threat. This is a law already enacted in many states across the country.
"Connecticut is a state that averages 14 domestic violence homicides annually with firearms having been the most frequently used weapon in those murders," Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said. "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. Given all of this, the Governor's proposal offers meaningful policy aimed at protecting restraining order applicants at an enormously vulnerable time. Such measure will and can save lives."
Another bill the Governor has introduced - Senate Bill 20, An Act Concerning Carrying a Firearm While Intoxicated or Under the Influence of Alcohol - seeks to conform state laws concerning carrying a firearm under the influence and hunting under the influence, which both currently have a blood alcohol limit of 0.1, with laws on drunk driving and boating, which have a blood alcohol limit of 0.08. The proposal will reduce the limits for violation of carrying a firearm or hunting under the influence to 0.08, making it consistent with driving and boating laws.