On Thanksgiving Day near Washington, D.C., a man shot and killed his divorced wife and their three children and then killed himself. The woman had twice asked courts to confiscate his rifle, but judges never required him to surrender it, reports the Baltimore Sun. State law requires handguns to be turned in when protective orders are issued, but not long-barreled guns. The case has revived calls from lawmakers who want to give court officials the authority to confiscate all firearms when a protective order is sought. “There needs to be more oversight when someone has concerns about a weapon,” said state Sen. Nancy King.
“We haven’t been able to get past the House Judiciary Committee,” said Jodi Finkelstein of the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County. “The general thinking has been: ‘You can take my house; you can take my kids. I don’t care, just don’t take my gun.’ ” Advocates against domestic violence say the exception for long-barreled guns is troubling in light of stricter federal laws, which local agencies can’t enforce. Under the federal 1994 Violence Against Women Act, all firearms, including rifles, are generally required to be forfeited when a state or federal court issues a protective order, but federal agencies, such as the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are responsible for enforcement.