Gun surrender program aims to reduce domestic violence-related homicides

ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana (KALB) – With Louisiana ranking fifth in the nation for homicides involving domestic violence, law enforcement and government officials have been trying to find a way to protect victims and bring down that statistic.

A workshop on domestic violence hosted by Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office this week took a closer look at how police help that process and keep guns out of the hands of convicted abusers.

“We had, in 2014, the state law that prohibits possession of firearms for eligible protection orders and certain convictions for crimes committed by an intimate partner,” said Lt. Valeria Martinez-Jordan of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, which helped lead the statewide effort. “However, there was no mechanism to surrender these firearms.”

As a result, Title 35 came into play in 2018, which established a gun transfer program through the court system. Title 35 allows officers to remove firearms from the possession of a person convicted of domestic violence if they do not return them after being ordered to do so.

However, when Governor John Bel Edwards signed the legislation into law, he asked Martinez-Jordan how she could implement the program statewide.

The lieutenant began working with other state partners to educate law enforcement officers on how best to implement the program in their departments, while teaching them the procedures and policies surrounding the title 35.

“Everything was created for the sole purpose of sharing, sharing knowledge to spread the program so that everyone can help in the implementation process,” Martinez-Jordan said.

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Ryan H. Bowman