Lawyers accuse some judges of not taking guns from abusers


Some attorneys are accusing some metro Atlanta judges of not enforcing laws meant to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

"In many jurisdictions, while it is the law, the judges are not ordering the guns to be picked up from abusers, therefore you end up with abusers who have firearms, and have victims who are still threatened even after they get the protective order."

Vicky Kimbrell is a lawyer and the director of the Family Violence Project for Georgia Legal Services. Her group of lawyers represented more than 2,000 domestic violence clients from around the state last year.

"72 percent of victims who are killed by domestic violence are killed by firearms, and we're trying to protect women and children and victims of domestic violence. Less than half the time do the judges actually order the guns to be removed, and then actually order law enforcement to pick up the guns, which is the critical piece that has to be done to keep victims safe," Kimbrell said.

Sometimes, even though some law enforcement officers do a great job of picking up the guns, she said, others don’t cooperate with the orders of the judge.

“The ones who don't want to enforce this provision say things like, 'We don't have enough storage capacity to keep the guns, or it's not our job, or it's the most dangerous part of law enforcement,'" Kimbrell said.

Kimbrell believes DeKalb County is one metro Atlanta county that's doing it right.

"There was a probation officer there that said that doesn't make sense. We've got to make a provision so that guns can be removed from batterers after a protective order, and she said the probation office would provide a storage room so that law enforcement could get the guns from batterers and keep them under lock and key so victims can stay safe," Kimbrell said.

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