Although there are laws and court orders preventing certain people from possessing guns, there are few places in Texas where the criminal justice system operates programs to hand over firearms to law enforcement. Advocates of domestic violence survivors and Texas law enforcement agencies say the biggest barrier is a lack of resources needed to create what are called firearm transfer programs, News From The States reports. In Texas, where devotion to the Second Amendment is strong, law enforcement officials and advocates for domestic violence survivors see firearm transfer programs as a reasonable — and realistic — way to protect victims without incurring insurmountable opposition from gun rights supporters.
“Let’s use every tool already available to us,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said. “Forget the politics of trying to address all the other factors, red flag gun laws and everything else — this is already available.” Getting programs off the ground to help implement existing law requires cooperation among police departments, district attorneys and advocacy organizations — which means these potentially life-saving measures take years to establish. In 2021, 127 women were murdered by a male intimate partner with a firearm in Texas. Those deaths make up three-quarters of all the domestic violence-related murders committed by men against women. A domestic violence victim’s risk of death is five times higher if their abuser has access to a firearm. Women of color experience higher rates of domestic violence. Although Black women made up only thirteen percent of the Texas population in 2020, they made up twenty five percent of the victims killed by their intimate partners.