Supporter, Opponent Weigh In on Domestic Violence Gun Bill

Created: 03/25/2014 11:02 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- It's an issue that has people taking sides. Tuesday, a Minnesota House committee advanced a bill that would take guns out of the hands of domestic abuse criminals.

While some see the importance of sending a message to domestic abusers, others see the bill as overreaching.

"It’s a repetitive cycle, it's all about control and power,” said Cresta Valentine, domestic assault survivor.  

Cresta Valentine grew up surrounded by domestic violence. "I thought that he loved me and I thought that he cared for me,” said Valentine.

At the age of 16, she found herself without family and stuck in a relationship filled with violent threats and anger. Until one day, her partner snapped. "He beat me, and he strangled me, and he stabbed me 3 times in the back, and he left me for dead,” said Valentine.

At the hospital, she found out she was pregnant with her first child, and from then on, she made sure to break the cycle of domestic violence. Now Valentine helps those in similar situations. So for her, a bill that would take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers sounds like a step in the right direction.

"It's hard because you never want to tell people that they have any kind of rights taken away from them, but they've proven that they're dangerous, they've proven that they don't have control, they've proven that they can hurt somebody else,” said Valentine.

But there are those against this legislation. “I think it should be trashed, it's complete garbage,” said Milan Hart with Hart Bros. Weaponry in Albert Lea.

The bill would also ban those subject to restraining orders from having guns. Milan Hart, who is running for a House seat in District 27A, feels the bill leaves too many open ends.

"Somebody could claim that somebody is mad and they feel their dangerous and bang you lose everything and they could be lying,” said Hart.

Hart questions the bill saying a piece of paper may not keep domestic abusers from striking again. "Criminals don't care, that's why they're criminals,” said Hart.

For Cresta Valentine, it's really the message being sent that she agrees with. "I don't know that it's going to stop domestic violence, but at least it tells them that you're going to lose your rights, that there are consequences to the action,” said Valentine.

The bill will now move to the House Judiciary Committee where a hearing is scheduled Wednesday. Similar legislation is making its way through the state Senate. The companion bill was approved by a committee after its second hearing Monday.