New firearm surrender policies target those accused of family violence

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza outlined new policies Wednesday that target people accused of family violence who are out on bond.

“It will ensure that people released on bond who are at high risk of re-offending don’t have access to a firearm,” Garza said. “This is a common-sense policy.”

Garza said his office will ask judges that those people, while out on bond, to surrender their guns as a condition of their bond and they can’t be found in possession of a gun at any time.

County Attorney Delia Garza further detailed the new protocol, saying people will be asked to surrender weapons within 48 hours of an order, a suspension of license to carry permit eligibility and if convicted of a misdemeanor assault involving family violence, they are permanently ineligible to own a gun.

“Timely relinquishment of weapons is an essential dynamic in violence prevention,” she said. “We know that an abuser’s access to a firearm poses a serious threat to victims and the general public.”

She continued to say murders are five times more likely to happen if an abuser has access to a gun.

Travis County Precinct 5 Constable Carlos Lopez said his office has been part of the firearm surrender program since 2017, and these new protocols further strengthen the program.

Advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and Texas Gun Sense were also part of the announcement. Ed Scruggs with Texas Gun Sense called the announcement “a great day in Austin and Travis County.”

He said he’s thankful the DA’s office “followed through on a promise” to make preventing gun violence a top priority.

“From the very start of the judicial process, these are simple, basic steps that will offer greater protection to the community, and we can do this without passing one new law,” he said.

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