As one of your constituents, I would like you to know that I strongly support LD 386 An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Working Group Concerning Domestic Violence and Firearms. LD 386 would allow a law enforcement officer to seize the firearms of someone arrested for domestic violence crimes, like stalking, assault or violating a protection order, and hold these weapons until further order of a court.
According to the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel’s 2010 report, 65% of the homicides that occurred in 2008 were cases of domestic violence. Of the 16 homicides the panel reviewed, more than half of the victims were killed with a firearm, the most common weapon. The panel made the following observation about the legal system: “The Panel observes that defendants who are on bail after being charged with serious criminal conduct may continue to pose a threat to their victim(s).”
With specific regard to firearms, “The Panel observes that the presence of a firearm in a home with domestic violence poses increased risk of a fatal injury to all household members, including victims and perpetrators.”
Since firearms in homes with domestic violence pose increased risks of fatal injury, since defendants on bail continued to pose a threat to their victims and since firearms are the most common weapon used in domestic violence homicides, I believe it is sound public policy to allow law enforcement officers to temporarily seize the firearms in certain cases of domestic abuse.
I hope you will support this bill.
For those who are interested, there will be a public hearing on this bill on Friday March 25 at 10:00 in Room 436 of the State House. Here is a list of the members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. If you click on their names, you can email them and ask them to support this bill.