- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The family of an Oxford woman, who police say was shot and killed last month by her estranged husband, voiced support Monday for federal legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal that would prevent subjects of temporary restraining orders from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Merry Jackson, who was also wounded in the May 7 shooting, said she believes her 32-year-old daughter, Lori Jackson Gellatly, might be alive today if such a law were in place.

“He left with a shot gun. He didn’t use the shot gun when he came into our house. But he was able to buy a gun because his name was not on a registration,” Jackson said during a news conference at the state Capitol complex. “If this law passed, he would not have been able to buy that gun.”

Jackson said her daughter in April had obtained a temporary restraining order against her husband, Scott Gellatly, describing him in court records as violent and mentally ill. But Jackson contends Scott Gellatly was able to buy a gun in Virginia because it had no record of the temporary restraining order and current federal law only prevents subjects of permanent restraining orders from possessing or purchasing firearms.

Gellatly’s attorney, Chief Public Defender David F. Egan, said he knows nothing about a gun allegedly being purchased out-of-state.

“This is news to me,” he told The Associated Press. “I don’t know anything about it.”

A message was left seeking comment with the prosecutor in the case. State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said he couldn’t comment on whether the alleged murder weapon was purchased out-of-state because the case is still ongoing.

Gellatly recently pleaded not guilty to murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, first-degree assault, two counts of home invasion, first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon and first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon. He is scheduled to appear in court July 30.

State Police said Lori Gellatly called 911 on May 7 to report her estranged husband was trying to break into her home. Troopers later found her and her mother suffering from gunshot wounds. Lori Gellatly later died at a hospital. The Gellatlys’ twin toddlers were also in the home at the time of the shootings, but were unharmed.

The killing came a day before a court hearing on whether to extend the restraining order.

Blumenthal said 17 states have laws that prevent subjects of temporary restraining orders from purchasing or possessing guns, but he called them ineffective without a federal law backing them up.

“The state boundaries are porous. Guns can be taken, as Scott, her estranged husband did, from one state to another,” he said.

Brian Malte, senior national policy director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called Blumenthal’s bill, which has several other Democratic co-sponsors, is important. He said it attempts to protect women “when they’re most vulnerable,” when a temporary restraining order is issued, potentially angering the subject.