Law forces domestic abusers to hand over or sell guns

Updated: Oct. 29, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana lawmakers have taken steps to help the victims of domestic violence by taking away the abusers’ weapons.

The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence said 50 people died in domestic violence cases in 2018 – 31 of those victims were killed by a current spouse or intimate partner.

Louisiana Act 367 allows courts and sheriff’s offices to seize weapons from individuals convicted of domestic violence or who have an active restraining order against them.

“The judge says you have to surrender your weapons,” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. “So they say ‘Do you have any weapons?’ If they say yes, then we move to the next step.”

The abuser would then have 48 hours to turn over their weapons. With the sheriff’s oversight, they can legally sell the weapon or surrender them.

“Surrender their weapons either to the sheriff’s office, or they can surrender them to a third party," Mancuso said. "Again the sheriff is responsible for overseeing that. The abuser then has 10 days to turn in proper documentation to the court.

Kathy Williams, an advocate at Oasis A Safe Haven, says this is a big step for victims.

“A lot of the ladies are extremely happy that the person that has been abusing them for so long, or they know they have these guns and made a threat against them, or they felt the threat - they feel a lot more at ease,” she said. “It’s a huge win, it’s another layer of protection for our citizens.”

The guns can be given back once the restraining order has been dropped, Mancuso said.

Since the law was passed, the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office has overseen two transfers to the sheriff’s office. Twelve more were third-party transfers and 289 people said they did not own or possess a gun.

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