From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2001
For more information, call:
Kelvin Bass @ 512-463-0123 or 214-467-0123

Senator West announces Family Violence Protection Bill

AUSTIN - Today, State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) joined fellow state lawmakers in announcing SB199, part of the 77th Session Legislative agenda designed to combat domestic violence.

"I think that this particular package of bills will assist in the continuing effort to discourage domestic violence and provide a sense of protection to the victims of family violence," said Senator West. "The particular bill that I'm filing basically codifies what federal law has already done, that is provide a common sense solution to the use of specific weapons."

SB199 would make it illegal for a person who is under a protective order to possess a firearm. In 1999, one-third of the 99 women killed in Texas by a male partner were murdered by their boyfriends, ex-boyfriends or fiances. In 1997, more than 70 percent of the 102 women murdered by their intimate partners were killed with guns. Also under SB199, persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of family violence (other than a Class C ) would not be allowed to possess a firearm.

Senator West, Senator Mike Moncrief (D-Fort Worth), Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano), and State Representative Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) were all on hand for a news conference sponsored by the Texas Council On Family Violence, a membership organization working to end domestic violence against women. SB199 was one of 12 bills filed to combat what Senator West called "one of the most prevalent issues in our community, in our society," that of domestic violence.

Senator West said SB199 makes sense in preventing future offenses by persons who have already been implicated in crimes of family or domestic violence. SB199 would enhance local law enforcement's authority to enforce firearms laws already in existence. It also partners with SB130, a law that makes it illegal to sell or transfer a firearm to a person subject to a protective order. SB130 became law in 1995.

"We solicit the public's input into what shapes these bills should take," said Senator West. "We plan to move ahead with all deliberate speed in order to make sure that these bills are approved in the Legislature and sent to the governor as expeditiously as possible."

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