Even when they are ordered to stay away from the partner they assaulted or threatened, many domestic abuse suspects in Maryland and Virginia get to keep their guns. The Washington Post says that advocates for victims in Maryland have fought for a decade to tighten the law, ever since Francseea Batts of Baltimore was killed by the father of her child two days after she unsuccessfully asked a judge to take away his gun. They have been rebuffed by a legislative committee dominated by gun-rights supporters and defense attorneys who fiercely guard the rights of the accused. Today, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is uring a committee to back bills that would give judges more authority to remove firearms when a victim seeks temporary and final protective orders.
Judges in Maryland and Virginia are allowed to order firearms removed after a court hearing in which a final protective order is issued, but the law does not require it. In Maryland, that authority is limited to handguns; judges can’t take rifles. Nor can Maryland judges confiscate guns when a judge issues a temporary protective order limiting a suspect’s contact with a victim for a week, a time when passions in domestic conflicts can be red hot and violence is possible.