HARRISBURG – Calling it a landmark victory for victims of domestic violence, Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) today applauded members of the state Senate for affirmatively voting on legislation she sponsored to further protect victims from their abusers.
House Bill 2060
passed the House last week by a vote of 131-62, and the state Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 43-5.
“There is no better time to advance this legislation to the governor’s desk than during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Quinn said. “I am grateful to everyone who recognized this legislation for simply being what it is – a responsible way for convicted and proven abusers to relinquish their firearms sooner and to a non-related third party so that more people don’t tragically die from senseless domestic violence.”
Quinn emphasized that this legislation, which now awaits approval by the governor, will not impact any law-abiding citizen. Only individuals with a conviction of domestic violence or a final Protection from Abuse (PFA) order by a judge after completion of due process would fall under the new provisions.
Under House Bill 2060, 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 order, which would be 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, thereby ensuring that an individual’s due process rights are addressed. A final PFA order cannot exceed three years.
“This legislation seeks a responsible but necessary balance in maintaining Second Amendment rights while ensuring that those who have demonstrated violence against their loved ones shouldn’t have them,” Quinn explained. “Under current state law, abusers can hold onto their firearms longer and can have easy access to them. These law-breakers shouldn’t have their firearms and shouldn’t hide behind our Constitution.”
On the civil side of the law for PFAs, House Bill 2060 would make it mandatory that firearms are relinquished to law enforcement, to an officer of the court, to a licensed firearms dealer or to a commercial armory -- and not a family member or friend. Relinquishment would only apply after due process is complete on a final PFA, not temporary orders.
On the criminal end, House Bill 2060 would require that a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence must relinquish firearms to a sheriff (or a third party) within 24 hours (rather than the current requirement of 60 days). As for a PFA, the firearms could also be held by law enforcement, an officer of the court, a licensed firearms dealer or a commercial armory.
Representative Marguerite Quinn
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton