Connecticut Gun Owners: New Restraining Order Laws Start October 1

Gun control is a perpetual hot topic around the country, especially during this election year. And Connecticut lawmakers have joined the debate by passing legislation that seeks greater protection for Connecticut domestic violence victims when it comes to temporary restraining orders.

The issue on the table? Whether gun owners who have a temporary restraining order against them—that is, one issued by a judge before the gun owner is able to be heard in court—should have the right to possess guns and firearms while the application is pending.

Starting October 1, gun ownership by people subjected to temporary restraining orders will be illegal, and Second Amendment advocates are fuming…

Understanding the Temporary / Ex Parte Restraining Order Process

As any of the best Connecticut restraining order lawyers and attorneys can explain to you, Connecticut currently has 2 types of civil restraining orders – one for victims of domestic violence (specifically abuse or neglect with spouses or family members), and another for victims of sexual abuse or stalking.  The process to get a Connecticut Civil Restraining Order is fairly straightforward: the victim files an application with the Court for what is called an “ex parte” restraining order (meaning a restraining order that’s granted before any notice is provided to the accused and before the accused has the opportunity to be heard by the court).

The judge will review the victim’s sworn statement and decide whether to issue a restraining order until the hearing date. Roughly two weeks later, a full hearing is held with witnesses, evidence, and arguments to the judge. At the end of the hearing, a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to extend the temporary restraining order for one year’s time. A judge’s order can range from do not not stalk, harass, threaten, or abuse the victim, all the way up to a prohibition on contacting the victim in any manner whatsoever, including staying away from the victim’s home.

Gun Possession Restrictions with Connecticut Temporary / Ex Parte Restraining Orders

As the law stands now, an alleged offender’s guns do not have to be turned over unless a judge orders it (note that gun surrender is almost universally ordered by judges anyway). However, effective October 1, 2016, the new Connecticut law makes it even more explicit – if you are served with a temporary restraining order, then you only have 24 hours to transfer your firearms to the local police or sell you firearms to a federally licensed firearms dealer. And as top Connecticut restraining order lawyers also understand, you will also have to turn in your permit until the order has expired.

Sounds harsh to you? That’s what gun advocates are saying, arguing that this summary removal of firearms infringes on their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Supporters of the new law felt the old law left victims who filed for restraining orders at serious risk of further violence.  They claim an angry spouse or significant other who still has access to guns is more likely to use them. In the end, lawmakers compromised by requiring a full hearing to take place sooner than 2 weeks. The new law states that if the subject of a temporary restraining order possesses guns, then the Connecticut restraining order hearing must take place within 7 days of the temporary order date. If the application for a temporary restraining order is not granted, then the guns and permit must be returned. If it is granted and extended, then the guns must remain with the police until the order expires, which is usually for an entire year. The end result…more protection for victims and a faster hearing for gun owners.

Own Guns & Just Got Served with a Restraining Order in Connecticut? Call a Lawyer

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, if you are served with an application for a temporary restraining order, then make sure you discuss the implications and your obligations under the new law with a top Stamford, Bridgeport or Danbury Connecticut restraining order lawyer before you head to court for a hearing.

The team of temporary restraining order attorneys at Mark Sherman Law work hard to stay ahead of changes to Connecticut’s gun and temporary restraining order laws. Our goal is simple: to get you the best possible result, whether you are fighting for or defending against a Connecticut restraining order application. So if you are served with an application for a temporary restraining order anywhere in Connecticut, then be sure to get in touch with a Connecticut temporary restraining order attorney at Mark Sherman Law who can walk you through the process, and craft strategies with you for winning the hearing, as cost-effectively as possible. Call us anytime, 24/7, at (203) 358-4700.