Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 12/19/2005 10:29:20 AM EDT
Pennsylvania Keeps Guns From Domestic Violence Defendants
By MARTHA RAFFAELE
Associated Press Writer


Gun control is a hard sell in this state, where hunting is a deeply ingrained tradition. But thanks to an unusual political partnership, judges are getting new powers to disarm domestic violence defendants.

A law set to take effect in May will allow courts to force people accused of domestic violence under protection-from-abuse orders to give up all their guns.

Most states have similar statutes, but it's a big change for Pennsylvania
, where the Legislature has long been a champion of gun owners' rights. For nearly 30 years, courts have been able to force domestic-violence defendants to surrender only those weapons they have used or threatened to use against a victim.

In 2002, that meant police had to return the 9 mm handgun Michael H. Bechtel had surrendered after a domestic harassment incident, even though his estranged wife had obtained a protection from abuse order against him.

That August, about four months after getting the gun back, Bechtel used it to kill Raienhna P. Bechtel, 22, their 3-year-old son, Jacob, and two other adults in the woman's home at the time. He pleaded guilty and is serving four life terms in prison.

If the new law had been in place, the killings "may never have happened," said Raienhna Bechtel's mother, Joan Starr.

"He probably might have come after her with his hands (instead). She might have had an opportunity to fight back," Starr said.

The new law, which was signed last month, resulted from a rare meeting of minds among lobbyists for abuse victims, police and gun owners in a largely rural state with gun laws that have earned a D-plus from a major gun-control group.

"If you are law-abiding and you have never threatened anyone with a gun, you don't have to worry about this law," said Rep. Katie True, a Lancaster County Republican and NRA member who sponsored the bill. Bullshit!

The legislation is aligned with a provision of federal law that prohibits anyone subject to a restraining order or convicted of a domestic-violence crime from owning firearms, said Jill Morris, public policy director for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"If you take one (gun) away, you've got to take them all away," Morris said.

The law also doubles the maximum time limit on protective orders to three years.

It will allow judges to order defendants in protection-from-abuse cases to turn over their guns and other weapons to a sheriff or approved third party - such as a friend or relative - within 24 hours of issuing a restraining order. A weapons surrender would be mandatory if a defendant violates a protection order.

The law includes a unique system to ensure third parties are held accountable if they return a weapon before the order is lifted, said Amy Sousa, policy specialist for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. They will have to get a free safekeeping permit from a county sheriff, and could be charged with a misdemeanor if they return a weapon without court approval.

Kathy and Mike Dyabelko of Lebanon say that provision could have prevented the 2001 death of their daughter.

Police say an ex-boyfriend killed Stacy Dyabelko, 25, and himself with a gun he had been ordered to give up, but that a friend had eventually returned to him.

The Dyabelkos were invited to the Capitol by Gov. Ed Rendell for a private bill-signing ceremony on Nov. 10.

"It was very bittersweet," Kathy Dyabelko said. "I do believe that if she had survived, this is what she would have wanted. She didn't want to see him die. She was not ready to die."

The law also allows courts to order accusers who seek protective orders based on groundless allegations to pay damages and attorneys' fees to defendants - an important concession to gun owners' groups, said Lowell Graybill, past president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

"We're fairly pleased that gun owners and sportsmen weren't taken for granted," Graybill said.

Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:38:09 AM EDT
At least they did'nt mention the Patriot Act.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:44:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

The law also allows courts to order accusers who seek protective orders based on groundless allegations to pay damages and attorneys' fees to defendants - an important concession to gun owners' groups, said Lowell Graybill, past president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

"We're fairly pleased that gun owners and sportsmen weren't taken for granted," Graybill said.




If he knew how likely it is that you can prove a negative in court (ie. I didn't ever yell at her or hit her 2 years ago like she says) he'd be a lot less "pleased".
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:53:19 PM EDT
And here is the real rub . It doesn't matter if you ever did anything or not this acusation will stay with your for the rest of your life and %90 of the people that find out about it will automaticly belive you did it no matter what the facts are .
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:16:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kodiak-AK:
And here is the real rub . It doesn't matter if you ever did anything or not...


True. I have seen many TRO's issued in the defendants absence.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:21:31 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:25:05 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:29:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tweak:
thought Fedlaw covered that? I know in WA if you have a restraining order you can't possess



Federal is about misdemenor domestic violence CONVICTIONS I think.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:31:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 12:32:56 PM EDT by AR15fan]

Originally Posted By Tweak:
thought Fedlaw covered that? I know in WA if you have a restraining order you can't possess



It does. However not every state enforces the federal ban.

It's one thing to say you can possess guns, but to make no effecrt to locate and prosecute those who do not comply. Its another thing to actually go after people who possess guns in violation of an RO.

Considering PA has maintained an illegal registry of handgun owners since the 1930's, it will not be difficult for PA to enforce this new policy. in fact they are likely to make DV suspects prove they liquidated their collection and failure to do so which be punishable by jail time.

We do that in Cali. If an RO is issued it instructs you to liquidate your collection withen a certain number of days, and you have a court appearance where you have to show proof that you did so. Failure to show up in court with proof means a warrant is issued for your arrest, and a search warrant of your home will soon follow.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:48:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 12:53:11 PM EDT by Hamel]
Same type of bill was tried in RI. Didn't make it through but it is coming up again soon. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past.

I wonder if this bill would have any support if a BS claim is made against a politician or police officer and they were denied their rights prior to due process.

Edit-Just saw the part about penalties against those who file BS claims.....shouldn't the courts also play a part in determining what is BS and legitimate and not give these things out without proper evidence? If so they should be held just as liable.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:51:07 PM EDT
now i hate living in PA
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:51:08 PM EDT
I've never laid a hand on my wife (in an unpleasureable manner) but if she ever did that to me I would beat the shit out of her before I divorced her.



Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:53:31 PM EDT
Do they get to keep their feet and fists???? I hear people stll get killed with those.....

Are they allowed to buy gasoline and matches????

Pointy sticks or heavy rocks?????
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 1:09:57 PM EDT
ATTENTION ALL WOMEN: if you feel you are or could be in danger, buy a gun.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:23:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Hamel:
Same type of bill was tried in RI. Didn't make it through but it is coming up again soon. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past.

I wonder if this bill would have any support if a BS claim is made against a politician or police officer and they were denied their rights prior to due process.

Edit-Just saw the part about penalties against those who file BS claims.....shouldn't the courts also play a part in determining what is BS and legitimate and not give these things out without proper evidence? If so they should be held just as liable.

HAHAHAHHA . Never happen bro . As the one born with a penis you are wrong . end of discussion .
Top Top