On Monday night, the Judiciary Committee of the CT General Assembly voted to pass HB 5054, an important bill whose purpose is to protect victims of Domestic Violence. The bill will require domestic abusers to surrender any firearms owned or possessed within twenty-four hours of service of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), pending a hearing to be held within fourteen days.  Passage of this bill is critical because presence of a firearm in an abusive relationship makes it five times more likely for the abuse victim to be killed.

Passing an important bill such as this takes the work of many. Thank you to all of you who have contacted your legislators, and in particular those of you whose legislators sit on the Judiciary Committee. Your advocacy played a substantial role in securing this vote.

Our next step will be to work to tell our legislators that we want HB 5054 to move to the floor for a full vote of the House and Senate membership before the session ends on May 4th. The bill will become law following a favorable floor vote.

We’ll be asking you soon to take further measures to make that happen, but for right now, let’s enjoy this important victory.

Thank you for your good work!

First, thank you! We had a great turnout for the hearing. Excellent testimony was presented on the bills we supported: HB 5054 An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and SB 429 An Act Concerning Service of Restraining Orders; And one that we opposed: HB 5597 An Act Protecting Domestic Violence Victims Seeking Restraining Orders.

The next important step directly involves you. Committee members will be voting soon whether or not to move these bills out of Committee to be considered for floor votes of the full Senate and House. Please click here to send a follow-up message to your legislator: http://www.congressweb.com/bgagv/84

Note: Legislators care most about what they are hearing from their constituents. At this time, we are limiting email to only constituents of the Judicial Committee members (our system checks this). Please click: http://www.congressweb.com/bgagv/84

First, thank you for the tremendous response in support of HB5408, the bill that would require persons carrying a handgun in public to show their permit if requested by a police officer.  More than 750 of you sent emails, 134 submitted testimony online, and 40 people showed up to testify at the hearing in support of this bill!  As a result of your advocacy the bill was favorably voted out of Committee. 

Right on its heels, on Monday, March 14, we have another extremely important public hearing of the Judiciary Committee on three critical Domestic Violence proposals.

Two of the bills, HB 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence; and SB 429 An Act Concerning Service of Restraining Orders, have the same objective we fought so hard for last year – 1) having sworn police officers make service of temporary restraining orders; and 2) removing firearms from subjects of temporary restraining orders pending a hearing to take place no more than 14 days later.  Until the two are reconciled we are supporting both bills.

We  oppose the third bill, HB 5597, because it sets in motion the risk warrant process if a restraining order indicates that the subject is in possession of a firearm.  The risk warrant process, while effective and well intentioned, does not serve the needs of many domestic violence victims, because it immediately sends police to confront the abuser.  Police can then seek an immediate warrant to remove firearms from that person. Many victims of abuse fear violent reprisals from the abuser in this process and much prefer going to the court for the restraining order.

So here are three things you can do right now:

1. Click here to send the below message to each member of the Judiciary Committee. (You can send the message as is or you can make your own modification to it).

2. Submit online testimony to the committee by sending an email to JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov. You can use or adapt the same message below.

If you  have the time, please customize the message somewhat; it has more impact if not viewed as a form letter.

3. To have the maximum impact, please, please attend the Public Hearing at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford on Monday March 14, 10:30 am in Room 2C. Whether you testify or show your support simply by being there—all day or for just a few hours, please let me know by replying to this email and indicating whether you want to testify or come for visibility. While testifying is hugely important, just your presence has an impact.

Here is the message to Committee members:

Dear Senator/Representative ___________;

I am writing to express my support for HB 5054, An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence, and SB 429, An Act Concerning Service of Restraining Orders.

Also, I oppose HB 5597, because it sets in motion the risk warrant process if a restraining order indicates that the subject is in possession of a firearm.  Many victims of abuse fear violent reprisals from the abuser when  police are brought to the home who then may get an immediate warrant to remove the subject’s firearms. These victims much prefer the safer route of going to the court for a restraining order.

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Click here to send this message to each member of the Judiciary Committee.

Alternatively you can email the statement—or your own—to JUDtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

It’s been a busy legislative session for firearm bills—we so very much appreciate you making your voice heard. It absolutely makes a difference.