In an effort to curb gun violence, Southbury state Representative Arthur O’Neill is sending a letter to each state legislature outlining Connecticut's Risk Warrant law. He wants other state to consider the measure as a way to make a difference, without impeding the rights of legal gun owners.
The Risk Warrant Act was drafted in response to the workplace shooting at the Lottery headquarters in 1998. It allows police, with a judge-signed warrant, to remove firearms from any person posing risk of imminent personal injury to self or others. The law was updated in 2013 to also include the seizure of ammunition.
O’Neill was one of the principal authors of the legislation. He says risk warrants allow police to be involved in the process much quicker than a temporary restraining order, and can be requested by anyone who feels there’s a credible risk. He adds that the law has been litigated and judged constitutional.
California, Oregon, Washington and Indiana have adopted similar laws.
When legislation has come up in recent years about removing guns from people who have restraining orders against them, O'Neill asked advocates why they weren't using this Risk Warrant law. He notes that the counselors and others didn't know the law existed.