NORWALK - A new law restricting gun ownership for people targeted by temporary restraining orders will take effect Saturday in Connecticut.
According to the new law, a person who has a temporary restraining order filed against them must surrender to police any guns they own immediately. Under the old law, a judge would have to hear the case before turning in weapons is required.
Domestic violence experts say the most dangerous time for a victim is right after they seek protection. They say the abuser often gets angry and tries to get violent -- add a gun into that mix, and lives are in jeopardy.
Lori Gellatly and her mother were shot by her husband, Scott Gellatly, in Oxford two years ago while they had a temporary restraining order against him. Scott Gellatly is currently serving 45 years in prison.
"The issue is not about removing a firearm or anyone's right to own a firearm," says Marielynn Herrera, of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. "The issue is protecting the mass majority of victims who are in fear of their life."
Victims' groups are applauding the new law, but gun rights groups say it's unfair to take away someone's constitutional right to bear arms until they get a hearing before a judge. The law could also add tension to an already stressful scenario.
"After someone receives a temporary restraining order and then finds out that they have to turn in their firearms, (that) would cause an escalation in the event, not de-escalation," said James Crook, of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, back in March.