State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) yesterday introduced legislation to better protect victims of domestic violence from their abuser by requiring those convicted of a domestic violence crime or served a civil protection order (CPO) to temporarily turn over their firearms to law enforcement.
“Separating deadly weapons from a domestic abuser weakens their power over the victim. By stopping gun violence before it starts, we can stop burying innocent people who should have been legally protected under a CPO,” said Antonio. “It’s common sense: domestic abusers should not have access to guns.”
According to Center for American Progress, the most dangerous time period for victims in abusive relationships is immediately after they file a civil protection order. Additionally, the risk of homicide at the hands of an intimate partner increases eight times when a gun is in the home.
Dubbed the “Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act”, the lawmakers’ proposal seeks to address this volatile time period by allowing judicial discretion in cases of temporary protection orders – allowing a judge to order the surrender of firearms while a temporary restraining order is in effect.
“On behalf of the victims of domestic violence – those whom we've lost and those whom we hope to save with our bill – I hope my Republican brothers and sisters will support empowering local law enforcement and courts in their vital efforts to deescalate some of the most dangerous domestic situations in our state,” said Boyd.
The Domestic Violence Victim Protect Act creates a state-level enforcement mechanism that would require an individual to transfer their firearms to a law enforcement agency or a federally licensed firearms dealer within twenty-four hours of the issuance of a court-order. The legislation also adds federal law to Ohio statutes by prohibiting gun possession by criminals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges and by those subject to permanent protection orders.
The bill now awaits assignment to a House Committee for further consideration.