Task force establishes order to keep weapons out of domestic violence offenders’ hands

Program already used in Civil district courts

SAN ANTONIO – Alarmed that San Antonio leads Texas in cases of women murdered by men, the Collaborative Commission on Domestic Violence has named a task force to address the issue.

The task force has developed an order that can be included in a protective order. It is called a weapons transfer order and requires a defendant to transfer any weapons and ammunition they have to law enforcement or a court-approved third party.

“The order puts in place a uniform order for all judges to use,” said 150th District Court Judge Monique Diaz, a task force member.

Judge Velia Meza, who presides in 226th Criminal District Court, says she hopes the order will also be used in Criminal courts. The program is already underway in civil district courts.

“We’re all on the same boat. We’re on the same team attacking the same problem,” Meza said Thursday.

Judge Mary Lou Alvarez, also a task force member who presides in the 45th Civil District Court, said, “The order would be as enforceable as any order that comes from the civil district courts.”

Under the program, a court order would be necessary to return the guns and ammunition to the defendant.

Diaz said the task force has been working on developing the order for a year and a half.

About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.