Texas judge works to seize weapons from domestic violence suspects

Weapons taken from domestic violence suspects

DALLAS - On Monday, Cedric Anderson walked into an elementary school in San Bernardino, California, where he shot and killed his estranged wife and an 8-year-old student.

Anderson had a history of domestic violence and weapons charges.

"A victim of domestic violence is 500 times more likely to be injured when there is a gun in the home,” said Paige Flink, of The Family Place.

Dallas Judge Roberto Cañas, who mainly hears domestic violence cases, is making it his mission to take weapons off domestic violence suspects.

"I do believe it saves lives," he said.

By law, a person who has a protective order out against them or who has been convicted of domestic violence has to surrender their weapons, but it's up to judges to determine if a person only accused of domestic violence does the same.
  
"It gives peace of mind to the judges, at least it does for myself, and let the case run it's course," Cañas said.

In the past two years, Cañas has seized 60 firearms but says there could be more if other judges did the same. He’s created a bench card that outlines the law and what judges have to do. He's giving those cards to Dallas County District Judges.

"It's a way to quickly summarize how to use the program and how to have a gun surrender hearing,” Cañas sai.

What to do with all the weapons that are confiscated has been an issue.

"Weapons have to be double locked and double walled and that has been a problem,” said Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

She said she's securing a building that will be guarded to store the firearms.

“We are going to be able to do this and accommodate many more judges that want to do this,” Valdez said.

Flink says taking away guns is a huge piece of the puzzle to keep victims safe. The Family Place is also building a new facility to house more victims in hopes of saving lives.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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