State lawmakers who were instrumental in crafting gun-related domestic violence legislation this year spoke at a Capitol rally on Oct. 26, in hopes of bringing awareness to crimes against women.
The event, which honored Domestic Violence Awareness Month, highlighted a Colorado law that stemmed from this year’s passage of Senate Bill 197, which makes it more difficult for domestic violence offenders to own or transfer a gun.
“We’re here to celebrate the successful passage of the bill, but more importantly we’re getting a message out that we have a law, and that people can be protected and they don’t have to cower at home in fear,” Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster said prior to the event.
Hudak sponsored the legislation, along with fellow Democratic lawmakers who also spoke at the event, Reps. Beth McCann of Denver and Rhonda Fields of Aurora.
Prior to Gov. John Hickenlooper signing the bill into law in June, there had already been a law on the books that prohibited domestic violence abusers from having guns. The new law puts in place a process by which state courts ensure that offenders relinquish their weapons.
Those who receive court-imposed protection orders must relinquish their weapons and ammunition for the duration of their court order. They can do so either through legitimate gun sales or transfers, or through temporary relinquishment to law enforcement.
The law also applies to offenders who are convicted of domestic violence cases.
The rally also served as a call for more domestic violence-related policy action. In front of those who spoke, there sat nine chairs that were covered in women’s clothing, which symbolized the number of women who are killed each week as a result of gun violence.
Senate Bill 197 was one of a handful of Democrat-sponsored gun bills that became law this year. The legislation did not receive any support from Republican lawmakers.
Hudak’s rally appearance comes at a time when there is an organized effort to oust her from office over her votes on gun bills, as a group is in the process of collecting signatures in hopes of forcing a recall election.
“Whatever price has to be paid, this bill is the accomplishment of my life,” Hudak said of the recall effort. “And it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so many years and finally found a way to get it done.”
Fields urged rally-goers to fight back against the recall effort that’s being waged against her colleague.
“We need to make sure we do not shrink,” Fields said. “We do not back down!”