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Harris County

Sheriff’s Office To Store Firearms Surrendered By Abusers

Individuals who are respondents to a protective order, which are common in domestic violence cases, will meet with a deputy and surrender the firearm for temporary storage.

Harris County Sheriff's Office
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced a program to store the firearms of individuals against whom a protective order has been granted. Protective orders are common in domestic violence cases.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office is launching a program to store firearms that belong to people involved in protective orders.

Protective orders are commonly granted to victims of domestic violence, as well as in cases of dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking.

Federal and state laws prohibit that abusers have firearms.

The way the program is designed, judges will give respondents of protective orders the option of surrendering their firearms. Subsequently, the person who has committed the offense will meet with a designated Sheriff’s deputy and surrender the firearm for temporary storage.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said a press conference the goal is having "a process in place where we could diminish some of the volatile nature of some of these relationships" because sometimes "things can start spiraling out of control and then the access to weapons, to firearms, you know, can become very deadly."

Gonzalez noted that more than 40 percent of homicides committed in Harris County have some connection to domestic violence.

Harris County District Judge Judy Warne has been involved in creating a program of this kind for years. She said that, because respondents of protective orders didn't have an option like this up until now, “they were then faced with either having to sell their weapon or transfer it to someone else, or be in violation of the order.”

“To take a gun and ask a respondent to voluntarily surrender it during a time when their relationship is so volatile,” Warne emphasized, “is a huge step in the right direction to protect the victims of domestic violence.”

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg also attended the press conference and praised the initiative. State District Judge Angelina Gooden, Judge-Elect Barbara Stalder, and Barbie Brashear, executive director of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council –which, along with Judge Warne, has been a driving force for the initiative– were also at the press conference.

The firearms will be returned if a judge instructs the Sheriff's Office to do so.

You can watch the press conference on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

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