LT. GOV. WYMAN & ADVOCATES HOLD ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON PROPOSAL TO PROTECT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
(HARTFORD, CT) - Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman today hosted a roundtable discussion on House Bill 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence, Governor Dannel P. Malloy's legislative proposal to protect domestic violence victims by prohibiting anyone subject to a temporary restraining order from possessing firearms. The conversation, held at the YWCA Hartford Region, included advocates, law enforcement, and members of the public.
Lt. Governor Wyman said, "Domestic violence is a complex issue, but the goal of this legislation is simple: to save lives. This bill is a commonsense step that will help protect women-and men-who are the victims of family violence. At least 20 other states have already enacted these protections for domestic violence victims-Connecticut should be among them."
Under Connecticut's current law, after a temporary restraining order (TRO) is issued, a hearing must occur before a judge can issue a permanent restraining order and prohibit firearm possession. These hearings often come as long as two weeks after the temporary restraining order is issued, leaving victims unprotected at a critical time.
The Governor's legislation will require that individuals who are the subject of a temporary restraining order relinquish their firearms and ammunition within 24 hours of notification. The bill also clarifies that gun permits must be reinstated by the State Police upon the expiration of any temporary restraining order that was not turned in to a permanent restraining order, as long as no other permit disqualifications exist.
Major Alaric J. Fox, Chief of Staff, Office of the Colonel, Connecticut State Police said, "By ensuring those most deeply impacted by domestic violence are heard, we are best able to achieve our most important objective: the promotion of a victim's personal safety. The current period of time between issuance of a temporary restraining order and the follow-up hearing has proven deadly in too many cases."
Lieutenant Nicholas Mullins of the Plainville Police Department said, "Law enforcement needs better tools to protect victims of domestic violence. This legislation provides those tools and will allow us to do more for victims."
In Connecticut, firearms were used in 39 percent of the 188 intimate partner homicides that occurred between 2000 through 2012. They are the most commonly used weapons to commit intimate partner homicide in Connecticut.
Carolyn Treiss, Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), said, "While everyone is at risk of domestic violence, it's a crime that disproportionately affects women. And while our state has recognized the heightened risk during this critical two-week period, an enormous and dangerous gap in victim protection still exists. For every naysayer who claims that women lie about assaults and that individual liberties are being curtailed, we say: what about the liberty to live in a home free of violence? When women in an abusive relationship are fully five times more likely to be killed if their partner has access to a firearm, what reasonable argument can be made to justify taking that risk for a short, but highly volatile period?"
Nationally, domestic assaults involving firearms are 12 times more likely to result in fatal violence than those involving other weapons or bodily harm.
Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence said, "The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she or he takes steps to end the relationship. Because domestic violence is all about power and control of one partner over the other, this can be a particularly difficult time for the abuser, who will begin to realize that he or she is losing control over the victims. This may result in the offender taking more extreme actions to regain control."
A recent survey by Americans for Responsible Solutions found that 86 percent of Connecticut voters believe that people subject to both permanent and temporary restraining orders due to domestic violence should not have access to firearms.
Deborah Ullman, Executive Director of the YWCA Hartford Region said, "The YWCA supports this proposal to protect victims of violence when they are most vulnerable. We must prevent further harm and tragedy."
The Governor's legislation is House Bill 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence.
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman