Restraining Orders at Heart of Proposed Gun Restriction

To supporters of gun control, and those working to prevent deadly cases of domestic violence, making sure a person with a temporary restraining order against them doesn't have a gun is common sense.

“The TRO bill is not just about guns" General Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. William Tong, (D - Stamford), said. "It is about our families. It is about keeping people safe."

The measure under review by the Judiciary Committee would prohibit gun ownership or possession by someone with a temporary restraining order filed and granted against them.

Currently, someone could have his or her guns taken away by a judge who deems the person to be a risk. This bill would go a step further, and it's being billed as a measure to prevent deaths as a result of domestic violence.

According to state statistics, from 2000 to 2012 there were 14 homicides each year between intimate partners. In 188 total cases, a gun was used 73 times.

The data is used for the bill by Democrats who support it, but the data is turned on its head by opponents who oppose new restrictions on guns.

"In two thirds of all of those cases, guns were not used," said Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the state's largest gun rights advocacy group.

Wilson and others argue the bill won't keep anyone safe and he said such a law would strip residents of their constitutional rights.

“It’s just another avenue for them to bypass our due process that’s been a part of our country since the 18th century," Wilson said.

Rep. Tong disagrees and said, if guns are removed from the home then it decreases the likelihood that a future encounter between spouses turns violent or even deadly.

“For those people who just want to talk about guns, and talk about due process, and talk about those issues, they’re missing the point,” he said.

A similar bill made it through the committee stage last year, but it never made it through the General Assembly to the governor's desk.

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