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New tool saves lives in divorce, domestic violence cases in Texas

After filing for divorce, a San Antonio nurse sought a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband who, at the time, was purchasing and seemingly building up quite a collection of firearms. Before papers could be served, the husband murdered his pregnant wife and then committed suicide a few days later.

This recent unfortunate incident is just one of many in an ever-growing series of gun-related domestic violence cases in Texas, one that many would like stopped and eradicated. While there are legal means to issue protective orders during a divorce proceeding, a new legal tool that could save lives is now slowly gaining a foothold among local judges and law enforcers.

Some Texas courts have already begun adopting a new pre-trial order to confiscate firearms from those arrested for domestic violence. While relatively new in most counties in the state, some judges in Texas have long been in the business of enforcing the order. San Antonio, where the murder-suicide incident took place, just recently began adopting it and mostly on a case-by-case basis only.

While efforts to prevent gun-related homicides among domestic violence cases have been improving steadily in recent years, many still believe that it may take a while before this new tool can yield significant results. Others are more optimistic, citing that this is a step forward in the fight against all forms of domestic violence.

"You don't see these kinds of restrictions in place on a broader scale as a condition of bail," said Professor Daniel Webster, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, in a comment in Mysanantonio.com. "This is a different kind of scenario - it could be a lifesaving measure to keep guns away from domestic violence perpetrators."

As hard as it is to discuss domestic violence crimes, victims should consult with a trustworthy legal professional for advice. A legal professional has the training and legal knowledge to handle sensitive cases and could direct those that are this type of situation to the right path to prevent unnecessary losses of life as a result of domestic violence.

Source: Mysanantonio.com, "New tool removes guns from domestic violence suspects," Eva Ruth Moravec, Jan. 6, 2013

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