March 24, 2015 – Speaking today at a press conference in the Connecticut State Capitol, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, Connecticut Senate President Martin Looney, and leaders in Connecticut’s domestic violence prevention community urged state legislators to pass stronger laws that protect women and families from gun violence, including a proposal currently before the Assembly that would close the loophole in state law that allows recipients of temporary restraining orders to legally buy and own guns.
The nexus of gun violence and domestic violence in Connecticut and around the country gained renewed focus by advocates and policymakers after the tragic death of Lori Jackson, a Connecticut resident who was shot and killed by her husband after obtaining a temporary restraining order against him.
While Connecticut law prohibits the possession of a firearm by a person who knows that he or she is subject to a restraining or protective order that was issued after notice and an opportunity to be heard in a case involving the use or attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person, state law currently does not prohibit gun possession of a firearm by a person subject to an “ex-parte” protective order.
”Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. That makes gun violence a women’s issue – for mothers, for families, for me and you,” said Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”Women can lead the way. Together, we can change our laws. Please, join your voice with mine.”
This is Congresswoman Giffords’ second visit to Connecticut in the last six months to urge action. This fall, Congresswoman Giffords traveled to Connecticut for a roundtable discussion with local women leaders to discuss the lethal nexus of guns and domestic violence, and the need for stronger state and federal laws.
”This isn’t a Democrat or Republican initiative – it is, simply, a logical one. We have a moral obligation to protect women and families from gun violence. This is about saving lives, and with this commonsense legislation, we will be able to more effectively do just that,” said Governor Malloy.
”It is beyond dispute that one of the most dangerous times in an abusive domestic relationship is the period immediately following the service of a temporary restraining order,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). ”This is a critical reform that will better protect victims of domestic violence and save lives.”
”Temporarily removing firearms as part of a restraining order should be a no-brainer, particularly when you consider this is a volatile time period that everyone agrees is potentially the most dangerous for a victim,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). ”A judge issues a restraining order, it’s lawful, it’s temporary, no one’s rights are being taken away, but lives will be saved.”
”Connecticut averages 14 intimate partner homicides annually with the majority of those deaths occurring through gun violence,” said Karen Jarmoc, chief executive officer at Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ”The period immediately following a victim’s application for a restraining order is often the most dangerous time. If a judge sees fit to issue a temporary order due to the existence of physical violence, there does exist cause for policies to immediately remove firearms.”
Between 2000 and 2011, 175 people in the state of Connecticut were killed by an intimate partner, and 38 percent of these homicides were committed with a firearm. In 2010, more than 90 percent of Connecticut domestic violence homicide victims were women.
Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.
In 2013, Congresswoman Giffords founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun violence prevention organization, along with her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, a retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut.