Senate panel approves proposal to ban convicted domestic abusers from owning guns

A bill that would prohibit convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms cleared a Senate panel Monday.

Senate Bill 150 would make it illegal for anyone who has been convicted of misdemeanor family violence or is under a "family violence protective order" from owning a gun. Felons already are banned from owning the weapons.

Had the law been in place in Georgia in 2015, Acworth resident Janet Paulsen told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee she might still have her ability to walk.

A judge granted Paulsen a temporary protective order five days before her husband shot her six times in her driveway, paralyzing her from the waist down.  He then shot himself, taking his life.

“I got lucky that night,” she said. “It was just me. He was waiting on me, my children and dad. ... Most women don’t make it.”

The bill's sponsor, Atlanta Democrat Jen Jordan, said the proposal will bring Georgia in line with federal law.

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said prosecutors and law enforcement officers are unable to enforce the federal restriction.

“This can only be enforced by federal prosecutors who, as you all know, are very busy and don’t really have the ability to see what we see on the ground locally in Georgia,” she said.

The legislation was altered at the urging of gun rights groups to create a process for someone who’s been convicted of misdemeanor family violence to petition the court to regain their ability to own firearms.

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