Bucks County Herald

Quinn advocates for domestic violence protection bill

State Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) voiced her commitment to continue fighting for a vote on her legislation, House Bill 2060, that seeks to better protect domestic violence victims and their families.

She was joined at a press event Thursday, June 28, at the Bucks County Administrative Building by Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub; local attorney Jess Pritchard, and representatives from the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), Moms Demand Action and the Bucks County Coalition of Women.

“I was extremely disappointed that the House recessed and left Harrisburg this week without voting on this important legislation ...,” Quinn said.

“Unfortunately, special interests chose to put forth misinformation at the last minute even after the hard work of experts in the field, legislators and residents from across the state who negotiated in good faith to craft commonsense legislation.”

Quinn explained that, under the bill, firearms relinquishment would take place in the case of a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence when the defendant has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the case of a civil Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, a judge would order the relinquishment of firearms after a hearing at which evidence is presented and both parties have a chance to speak.

“Despite claims to the contrary, this legislation does not take firearms away from responsible gun owners,” Quinn said. “It will, when enacted, take firearms out of the hands of those who have received due process, and are deemed by the court to be violent and a threat to their family.”

Under present law, when a judge makes a final order in a PFA hearing, he or she has discretion whether to order the defendant’s firearms to be turned over to the sheriff or to a third party, who can be a friend or family member of the defendant.

House Bill 2060 would make it mandatory that firearms be relinquished to law enforcement, to an officer of the court, to a licensed firearms dealer or to a commercial armory. The time frame for relinquishment will stay the same as present law, which is 24 hours.

House Bill 2060 also would change requirements when a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Currently, he or she must relinquish firearms to a sheriff or a third party, but has 60 days in which to do so. House Bill 2060 would make the relinquishment period 24 hours, and require relinquishment to law enforcement, an officer of the court, a licensed firearms dealer or a commercial armory.

“... Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), is disturbed this bill did not get a vote,” said Penny Ettinger. “We service more than 3,000 victims of physical and psychological abuse per year.

This abuse extends to not just the romantic partner but to children, grandparents and friends.”

Moms Demand Action’s Melissa Carden added her support, saying, “... We will not stand for putting the rights of convicted domestic abusers over the rights of women and children.”


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