- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas appears unlikely to join more than two dozen states that have passed laws in the last two years making it more difficult for domestic abusers to possess weapons, a state representative who introduced a similar law during the 2015 legislative session said.

Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, proposed a bill that would have created a gun violence restraining order to allow courts and law enforcement to seize firearms and prohibit domestic abusers from having weapons. The bill called for a court hearing and specific evidence before a weapon could be removed. The subject of the order would have had a chance to appeal. The weapons eventually would be returned in most cases.

Bollier said the measures would protect people who live with domestic abuse and also could help those inclined to commit suicide by making weapons less available. But she does not believe the bill will get traction this year because of the state’s strong pro-gun climate.

“I am not anti-gun. But most people are against gun violence,” she said. “It would seem to me these groups could work together somehow. Not this year.”

FBI data analyzed by The Associated Press showed Kansas had 65 people killed with firearms by spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners between 2006 and 2014. That number is likely low because not all law enforcement departments report such information and the numbers do not include children or other bystanders killed by domestic violence.

Texas saw the most such killings, with 798. Most of the Kansas victims were women, including 23 wives and 20 girlfriends. Wichita had the most reported domestic violence adult deaths with 14, followed by Kansas City with nine.

The executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Joyce Grover, said proposals such as Bollier’s represent good intentions but also several pitfalls, including the potential to conflict with existing federal laws that already prohibit people with a protection order to have weapons or ammunition. For example, she said, federal law could have a much narrower definition of victims or different rules for how guns are confiscated than a state law.

Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said support for such measures from gun-rights advocates would depend on the specifics of how and why the weapons would be confiscated, to protect people who have not been convicted of any crime from losing their firearms. But he said no one will argue that mentally ill or violent criminals should be able to keep their guns.

“Innocent until proven guilty is a strong priority in Kansas,” he said. “But if you take certain actions you give up certain rights. No one disagrees with that. No Second Amendment supporters would promote that.”



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