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New law tightens rules for guns in domestic violence cases

October 15, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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Come next year, defendants in some domestic violence cases will have to turn over any weapons and firearms to local authorities. And with the option for third-party storage removed, local enforcement is looking to find ways to handle the expected barrage of detained firearms they'll have to properly store.

Pennsylvania's legislature recently passed a new state law concerning cases of domestic violence and firearms. When the new law goes into effect in April, it will reduce the timeline a domestic offender has to surrender their firearms and weapons to authorities and it mandates judges to order the confiscation of all weapons in cases that reach a final abuse protection stage in the court process. Domestic violence offenders will have 24 hours, reduced from 60 days, to turn over any firearms and weapons.

“Domestic violence is often seen as a private matter but it's a public health issue,” said Julie Bancroft, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an advocacy organization that Bancroft said has been pushing for this kind of legislation for the last 10 years.

State Rep. Tedd Nesbit, R-8th, who voted against the bill when it was in the state's house, expressed concern about police departments in the county storing the expected weapons increase.

“Government agencies are already overworked, they don't need more on top of that,” he said.

This is an excerpt -- read the full story in Tuesday's Butler Eagle.

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