Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation to permit law enforcement to confiscate guns and ammunition from anyone accused of domestic abuse. The bill is headed to the desk of Gov. Dannel Malloy and he’s expected to sign it.
Under the legislation, suspects would have 24 hours after being accused to surrender all firearms.
After nearly three hours of debate, the bill was approved with a 23-13 vote amid a failed attempt by Republicans to amend the bill.
The Connecticut Post explains the intention behind the legislation:
The goal is to protect women from the increased lethality at a critical point in a relationship: when they are trying to leave their abusers. About 14 domestic homicides occur annually in Connecticut, half of which are caused by guns.
While 5,000 temporary restraining orders are issued annually, about half result in permanent orders. The bill, which was approved last week in the House, would require court hearings within seven days and if judges decide against extending the orders, weapons would be returned within five days later. Currently, court hearings are held 14 days later.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney argued the “possible inconvenience to gun owners” should not come at the “expense of the great danger to victims of domestic violence.”
“That’s why this bill is exactly what we should be doing in this area,” he added.
Though there was some opposition to the bill due to gun rights concerns, the Post reports “there was little evidence of gun-rights activists in the Capitol on Monday.”
“I do believe we have to honor the Constitution, we have to honor the Second Amendment and we have to honor the rights of individuals,” Republican Sen. Rob Kane said.
Multiple attempts to contact Democrats in the Connecticut Senate were unsuccessful.