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Harris County Sheriff's Office
Wednesday December 19th, 2018 :: 03:01 p.m. CST


Sheriff Launches “Safe Surrender” Program to Fight Domestic Violence

Dec. 19, 2018 – Sheriff Ed Gonzalez today announced the launch of Harris County’s first ever “Safe Surrender” program aimed to encourage more compliance with protective orders signed by judges.
State and federal laws prohibit a person against whom a protective order has been granted from possessing a firearm.

Until now, these people have had to sell or give away their weapons. With limited options, many abusers have kept their firearms, in violation of the law. More importantly, their failure to give up possession of their guns has put their domestic violence victims at greater risk of harm or death.

Sheriff Gonzalez has now ordered deputies to work with Harris County judges to give those under protective orders the option of depositing their weapons for temporary storage with the Sheriff’s Office until the owner is legally permitted to take back possession.

“As a former homicide investigator myself, I know the stakes are high in these cases. I have been to too many murder scenes -- both as an HPD detective and now as sheriff – that were caused by domestic violence,” Gonzalez said. “Here in Harris County, we know that more than 40 percent of our homicides are the result of domestic violence. We have to act.”

The Safe Surrender initiative is the brainchild of Harris County State District Judge Judy Warne, who approached Sheriff Gonzalez with the idea earlier this year, along with members of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

“Sheriff Gonzalez has allowed us to take a huge step in the direction of protecting victims of domestic violence,” Warne said.

Also joining Sheriff Gonzalez to announce the program were District Attorney Kim Ogg, State District Judge Angelina Gooden, Judge-Elect Barbara Stalder, and Barbie Brashear, executive director of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

Under the program, judges issue protective orders with instructions for the subject to make arrangements to surrender their weapons at a designated Harris County Sheriff’s Office location.

Deputies will then temporarily store the surrendered weapons until the subject of the protective order is eligible to have them returned.

Deputies will not forcibly remove weapons from homes under this program. However, those who fail to comply with the protective order are subject to sanctions from the judge, including possible criminal charges.

Video of Wednesday’s full press conference may be viewed on Facebook.

Harris County Sheriff's Office
1200 Baker St
Houston, TX 77002

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 713-221-6000

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