Initiative Five: Criminal Court Reforms That
When an abuser has access to a gun, the chances that a domestic violence victim will be killed rise 500%.
Judges aren’t doing enough in either civil or criminal court to find out if abusers have access to guns and to make sure that every abuser knows what they must do with their guns to comply with the law.
Prosecutors handling criminal domestic violence cases often cite lack of victim cooperation as the reason that they are unable to obtain convictions. Yet the prosecutorial system is not set up to support victims throughout a traumatic, time-consuming, sometimes expensive, criminal trial process. Some victims complain that they do a great deal to help prosecutors but cases are not pursued.
Our 2015 REPORT was the first to highlight the lack of gun-related enforcement provisions in Maryland laws affecting convicted abusers. Our report also showed that judges told only one out of 126 offenders that they were no longer eligible to buy or possess a gun.
In 2011, judges told only 32% of abusers with protective orders that they had to turn in their guns to law enforcement; today judges tell 80% of abusers to relinquish their weapons.
Another positive impact of our “Abusers with Guns” report will be seen October 1, 2018 when a new law takes effect that improves the process for getting guns out of the hands of convicted abusers.
Court Watch's data was also featured on a segment of "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," reaching over 1 million viewers.