Seven states take guns away from a person covered by a domestic violence protection order. In another 12, judges issuing the orders are explicitly allowed to ask police to seize a gun. Utah isn’t among them, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. While federal law bars anyone under a protection order from having, possessing or buying a firearm, it does not set up a mechanism for states to confiscate weapons. Utah relies on an honor system that assumes a person under a protection order will stay away from firearms – even when there is a record of a threat to use one.
Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies serve more than 1,500 protection orders a year from 3rd District Court, which issues more orders than any other judicial district. But Lt. Paul Jaroscak, an office spokesman, said the commander who supervises delivery of the orders could not recall a single one in the past four years that required a deputy to take away a firearm. That loophole can have deadly consequences, as happened Jan. 6 when David L. Ragsdale allegedly fatally shot his wife, Kristy, in a Lehi church parking lot. A month earlier, Ragsdale had threatened to use a gun to “take care of things” during an altercation. A judge issued a protection order that noted Ragsdale, who kept a 9 mm Glock firearm in the trunk of his BMW, was not to have, possess or transport a weapon.