Senator Richard Blumenthal, family members of Lori Jackson, and domestic violence prevention advocates are meeting this morning to highlight new legislation authored by Blumenthal to close loopholes that leave domestic violence victims vulnerable to gun violence following the issuance of a temporary restraining order.
On May 7, Scott Gellatly shot and killed his wife Lori Jackson and wounded his mother-in-law Merry Jackson in Merry’s Oxford home. Both Lori and Merry Jackson had obtained restraining orders prohibiting Gellatly from coming near them. He was still able to legally possess firearms.
Blumenthal says the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. In 2010, of all the women killed by a firearm in the United States, almost two-thirds of them were killed by an intimate partner.
The Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act would establish consistent, nationwide protections prohibiting the purchase or possession of guns and ammunition by those subject to a temporary restraining order.
Blumenthal says when domestic abusers are most dangerous, at the height of their rage, current law is weakest in protecting victims like Lori Jackson from gun violence. When a domestic violence survivor first asks for protection from an abuser, the court can issue a temporary restraining order to immediately protect him or her during the few days or weeks until the court can issue a permanent restraining order. Current federal law protects domestic violence survivors from gun violence by preventing their abusers from purchasing or possessing a firearm, but only once the court has issued a permanent restraining order.