Bill seeks gun control for domestic violence offenders

    Senate Bill 95 would restrict the possession of guns for offenders in certain domestic violence cases. (Photo: NBC Montana)

    A bill that calls for gun control in domestic violence situations is close to having its first hearing.

    State Sen. Sue Malek (D-Missoula) says she's expecting strong opposition to this bill, yet she says she thinks it sparks a needed conversation in Montana.

    Senate Bill 95 would grant judges the authority to ask that a domestic violence offender give up his or her gun when convicted or when a temporary restraining order is issued.

    Malek says people involved in domestic disputes are five times more likely to die as a result of gun violence.

    "I understand that people involved in domestic violence are going to be hunters, and they're going to want to keep their guns, but if they have done something that is so extreme that a judge feels that they need to give up their guns in order to get control of the situation, then that's what needs to happen," said Malek.

    Malek says she is expecting some support as well as resistance from groups like the Montana Shooting Sports Association, which she calls more radical than the NRA.

    "You have to think about the risks of the police officers when they walk into a domestic violence situation. The presence of guns are not only a real danger to the family members but also to the police officers who are trying to calm the situation down."

    The bill has its first hearing scheduled on Jan. 23.

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