Lawyer Pushes for Bill to Prevent Divorcing Spouses from Buying Guns

After being shot by her ex-husband last year, a Georgia lawyer is trying to convince state legislators to pass a law that effectively stops spouses from purchasing firearms while going through the divorce process.

April Ross, a bright, up-and-coming prosecutor for Fulton County, Georgia, was sitting in a car with her former colleague, Levon Hailey, on the morning of April 25, 2014, when her estranged husband, Tranard McConnell, fired upon them several times. He would go on to commit suicide hours after the incident.

Ross was left paralyzed after the attack, only two days after filing for divorce to end her three years of marriage with McConnell.

Memories of the Shooting

According to Ross, she can’t quite recall her ex-husband firing a gun at her, or the sensation of being hit with three bullets: one in the jaw, another in her right arm, and the last in her back, which caused a spinal injury that left her paralyzed from the chest down. The six surgeries that occurred within the span of a week were also a blur.

It was a Friday morning when Ross and her friend Hailey were en route to the Clayton County courthouse in her blue Honda. Ross had planned to have her hair done after dropping off Hailey at his house, but after wrapping up their conversation, she noticed movement on the passenger-side window and recognized her husband’s figure. Her memories beyond that are foggy.

Status of the Bill

Ross would eventually learn that her husband had bought the guns and ammunition just hours before shooting her and her friend. Today, the attorney is in talks with state legislators to push a bill that would prevent anyone going through a divorce from buying a firearm.

The bill has already made it to the Georgia Senate. If passed into law, the legislation would require individuals going through a divorce to first seek a judge’s permission to purchase a gun.

The Georgia lawyer knows the bill would only address one aspect of domestic violence, failing to eliminate every worst-case scenario possible for spouses going through a divorce. Still, she hopes it will reduce instances where someone can hurt their spouse when ending a relationship.

Opposition from Gun Rights Advocates

Not surprisingly, the bill has received criticism from staunch opponents of gun control. A gun rights group called Georgia Carry recently issued a statement, saying that they oppose any bill that “strips citizens of their constitutional rights (referring to the Second Amendment) without due process.” The group goes on to add that while emotions tend to be at their extreme during divorce proceedings, stripping any disarmed person from their right to bear arms is not the proper way to address the issue.

To learn more about how you can protect yourself or your children during the divorce proceedings, get expert advice from an experienced family lawyer from Lyttle Law Firm. Call our legal team at 512-215-5225 to schedule a consult or fill up our online contact form.