Alarmed that Dallas County fails to enforce laws that forbid some domestic abusers to have guns, state and county officials are vowing to take stronger steps to keep guns away from batterers, reports the Dallas Morning News. The commitments come after the newspaper reported that county officials weren't enforcing state and federal laws that prohibit convicted domestic abusers and subjects of protective orders from having guns. Criminal court judge Roberto Cañas said he would oversee Dallas County's efforts to impose the law, filling a vacant leadership role that experts say was holding the county back from creating an enforcement plan.
Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia is considering whether the law needs changing to help officials confiscate firearms, and plans to address the issue in the legislature next year. “This is something we think everyone should get behind regardless of party or political viewpoints,” said chief of staff Liz Zornes said. “No one is in favor of domestic violence.” Because Dallas County officials didn't follow the law, guns stayed in the hands of abusers like the man who police say killed his pregnant girlfriend and shot a police officer last year while he had a protective order against him. Officials blamed their inaction on the law, which doesn't clearly indicate who is authorized to confiscate weapons. The newspaper found that other Texas counties had discovered ways to impose the gun ban anyway. Cañas said he was inspired to take action because of the story and will take the lead on making sure Dallas follows suit.