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Local Woman Hopes Bill Curbs Domestic Violence

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Lawton,Ok_A local woman's fight for a tougher law on domestic violence has paid off.  Barbara Burk was joined by family and friends at the State Capitol this morning as Governor Mary Fallin signed house bill 1912.

Burk has been working with lawmakers since her daughter, Diane Dye, was murdered by her estranged husband in July 2010.  She hopes the new bill will be a major weapon in the fight against domestic violence.  

The new law will allow victims of domestic violence to file for a protective order without a previous criminal or legal complaint filed.  The law also considers the safety of a victim before setting a bond should someone violate a protective order.

"I just can't hardly put into words what it means to me and my family and all the other victims out  there that are going through this right now. It's been a long time coming," Burk said.

One year ago, the bill hit a major stumbling block in the legislature, which forced a major revision this year.  The original plan was to give a judge the authority to take weapons away from someone who posed an imminent threat to the person who filed the protective order.  The courts would decide when it was safe to give them back.

Burk says it was tough to remove that part of the bill. "To me was a big issue, because my son-in-law he had an arsenal of weapons everywhere he went, they were available to him," she said.

Burk credited house speaker T.W. Shannon for his work in getting the new bill approved.  "We've been working at this issue, other members of the delegation have for Mrs. Burk and her family just because we care. I think this a good example of government working on behalf of the people. We had an issue in Lawton that came as a result of this tragedy, we were all made aware of how tough it is for people who feel threaten to seek a victim protective order," Shannon said.

"The fight for this bill has almost like a therapy for me, because of the fact that if it can help other people out there, other victims out there in the same situation I get some consolation knowing that maybe they're going to be helped and maybe something positive will come out of my daughters death," said Burk.

Burk said this battle may be over but the war on domestic violence is not.  She still wants to find a way to get that firearm provision that was deleted into another bill. 

Burk said she's not against guns, but she just doesn't feel a person being served an emergency protective order should have them.  

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