When police are called to a domestic violence complaint or a restraining order is issued, weapons are always a chief concern, local law enforcement officials say.I would not want to forego due process. There has to be legal reasons before confiscating anyone's weapons. But, once those criteria have been met, the removal of those weapons is imperative and will save lives, usually women's lives.
State law allows police to seize any firearm in plain view at the scene of an incident even if no arrest is made and to seize a weapon from someone suspected of committing a crime, even if no arrest has been made. Protective orders require the surrender of weapons and judges usually order the same of people subject to a restraining order.
Area police said they don't hesitate to use those powers and often work pre-emptively to remove weapons in criminal cases before the courts issue orders the next business day.
While involved parties will usually surrender their guns voluntarily, police said, the system isn't foolproof. People can lie or hide weapons, or there can be filing irregularities in the computer database that tracks pistol permits and registrations. And some weapons, such as hunting rifles, don't have to be registered with the state.
The relationship between weapons and domestic violence is in sharp focus locally after an apparent murder-suicide in Southington Saturday, the second such incident in less than a week. Both involved a man apparently killing his ex-wife, then turning the gun on himself. The other incident was in Wallingford.
Common sense gun control demands several improvements in the current mish-mash system we have now. 1. background checks on all gun sales, 2. licensing of all gun owners, 3. registration of all firearms.
With proper gun control like that, one of the first areas to see an improvement would be that of domestic violence. Many times the offender is a law-abiding gun owner up until the time he crosses the line with his wife. Guys like that could be disarmed quickly and surely if the authorities knew what weapons they possessed.
The problem is many people fear that such controls would lead to ever-stricter ones. Gun owners who might not necessarily object to these proposals, vigorously resist them anyway, for fear that ultimately they too will be required to surrender weapons. I don't agree with that, I think it's paranoid nonsense. What do you think?
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