Lori Gellatly hoped make a temporary restraining order against her husband permanent at a court hearing Thursday, but she never got the chance.
Police say Scott Gellatly shot and killed his wife Wednesday morning. Karen Jarmoc of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence fears a loophole in Connecticut state law contributed to the murder.
“On the order itself, it says he has access to guns and yet, there was nothing that could be done,” said Jarmoc, referring to court documents.
Though Connecticut restraining orders bar the possession or purchase of guns, that restriction doesn’t apply to temporary restraining orders.
“If there were policies and measures in place that would require, even in the case of a temporary restraining order, that those firearms have to be turned into law enforcement, that person could be safer,” said Jarmoc.
Lori Gellatly described a physical altercation with her husband in her restraining order application filed in late April. The Oxford mother even writes, “He acts out very violently and I am afraid for my kids and myself.”
Jarmoc is calling on lawmakers to tighten gun rules surrounding restraining orders.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), is trying on the federal level. He spoke about legislation restricting gun access during temporary restraining orders at a news conference in August. Wednesday night, he brought it up again on the Senate floor.
“There will be time to talk about lessons we can learn from domestic violence like this shocking incident,” said Blumenthal, referring to Gellatly’s murder. “My heart goes out to their family and children.”
Blumenthal said he plans to introduce the legislation, written with the help of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), soon.
Jarmoc hopes to see action on the state level, too, and reminds gun advocates that this firearms restriction would be temporary.
“It’s just two weeks. It’s not permanent. It’s until the hearing takes place and I think that the circumstance that occurred, just overnight, is a perfect, unfortunate example of why this measure is so critical,” she said.
Gellatly’s death marks Connecticut’s sixth murder with an apparent connection to domestic violence this year. Jarmoc said guns are the most commonly used weapon in domestic violence killings in the state over the last 13 years.