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Virginia Bill Addresses Domestic Abuse And Gun Violence

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The gun debate continues on Capitol Hill.
The gun debate continues on Capitol Hill.

A person convicted of domestic violence is already prohibited from carrying or purchasing a firearm. But that's not the case with an alleged abuser who's subject to an emergency protective order against a family or household member. Sen. Barbara Favola's bill addresses that.

"If the perpetrator is in the home of the victim, the perpetrator would be prohibited from physically carrying a weapon."

This, of course, would apply if the person isn't already prohibited by law from carrying a firearm. But senator and former prosecutor Tom Garrett questions the language to deprive a law-abiding citizen of that right when the abuse is an allegation.

"I loathe to convict someone and strip them of constitutional individual rights based on an accusation before an adjudication of guilt," says Garrett.

Only three senators voted against the measure. In recent weeks, this scenario played out in the national media when Super Bowl-bound Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was accused by his fiancé of domestic assault. He was forced to turn in all of his weapons, but once he was cleared of the charges, they were returned.

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