A fiery debate broke out in Hartford, Connecticut over a change in state gun laws that prohibit certain people from possessing firearms, according to this story from the Hartford Courant.
The change would prohibit someone from possessing a firearm after a restraining order is filed against that person, but before a hearing before a judge. Currently, the law requires a judge’s ruling before firearms and ammunition can be removed from an individual who is under a temporary restraining order, the story says.
Supporters of the change in legislation say that it can take roughly two weeks between the order being filed and a hearing, a time period that can be precarious for victims, the story says.
“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 (D-29th) in the story .
Gun rights advocates say the law would be a violation of due process. They also raised concerns over how quickly firearms would be returned if a judge doesn’t grant a permanent restraining order.
“You’re innocent until proven guilty, that’s how I was brought up,” said State Rep. Ron Sampson (R-80th) in the story. “This bill before us takes that away.”
Those against the measure pointed out that there are existing laws that allow guns to be seized if there is a perceived threat of violence.
The legislation is a stand-alone bill and is also tacked on to a human trafficking bill.
“They’re tying guns in there to try to give it the added legs to get some sort of temporary restraining order bill through,” said Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League. “We think that if…they strip the gun components out of these bills there would be a lot more support for these bills. Our organization does not want to see any victim of domestic violence…get hurt in any way, shape or form.”