Emotional victim speaks to restrict access to guns for domestic violence offenders

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–There have been eight domestic violence murders in Connecticut so far in 2014, and now there is a federal effort to close a loophole that allows anyone with a temporary restraining order against them to still be able to keep and purchase guns.

Quite obviously shaken, and showing some of the scars of four bullet wounds received just six weeks ago, victim Merry Jackson explained how her daughter’s estranged husband, Scott Gellatly, purchased a handgun out of state and then went on a rampage, killing her daughter Lori and shooting her.

“He came into my house and he shot myself and killed my daughter, and this might have been able to be prevented,” Jackson said through tears.

Even though her daughter had put on the application for a temporary restraining order that he had access to guns, a known red flag in domestic violence cases, Gellatly was able to purchase a gun because of a loophole in federal law.

Lori is one of eight victims of domestic violence murder in Connecticut this year.

“He left with a shotgun, he didn’t use the shotgun when he came into our house but he was able to buy a gun because his name was not on a registration,” Jackson said.

“A loophole in the law prevented her protection from her estranged husband who killed her,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

If Gellatly had been under a ‘Permanent Restraining Order’ instead of a temporary one, his weapons would have been seized by the police, and his right to purchase firearms would have been denied on the national computerized registry.

“If this law passed, his name would come up that there was a restraining order against him, and he would not have been able to buy that gun,” Jackson said.

Blumenthal is proposing that this loophole be closed by changing federal law to make temporary restraining orders just like permanent restraining orders.

He would like to call it the “Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Act.”

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