Rate at which judges tell respondents to turn in guns varies widely

Rate at which judges tell respondents to turn in guns varies widely

It’s the law. When a final protective order is issued in Maryland, all respondents must turn in any guns they possess to the Sheriff’s Office for the duration of the order.

The rate at which District Court judges are telling respondents to turn in their guns, however, varies dramatically. One judge last year told respondents 97% of the time to turn in their guns.  Another repeated this critical warning only 13% of the time.

That’s a very large problem.  A victim of domestic violence is five times more likely to be killed by her abuser if he has a gun. So the judge firmly ordering an abuser to turn in guns couldn’t be more important.

Do all respondents obey the law?  Of course not. But many are eager to put their experience with court behind them and fully comply.

Ironically, in criminal domestic violence court the stats are far worse – judges are still failing to tell convicted abusers 99% of the time that, under Maryland law, they must dispossess themselves of all firearms. Many judges claim it isn’t their job to warn defendants of “collateral consequences” of their convictions.  We beg to differ.