- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Judges would be required to inform domestic violence abusers they are prohibited from possessing firearms, under a measure coming before Maryland lawmakers.

The bill would require courts to order people convicted of a domestic related crime punishable as a misdemeanor to transfer all firearms in his or her possession to a federally licensed firearms dealer. While Maryland law currently prohibits firearm possession by a person convicted of a crime of violence, abusers often aren’t ordered to do so, and may not follow through on their own.

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers in the last two years. It has been a rare area of consensus in the nation’s debate over gun rights. Lawmakers and governors of both parties have supported bills stripping gun rights from those convicted of domestic violence-related crimes or who are subject to protective orders.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who plans to introduce the bill this year, said he’s hopeful Republican lawmakers will support the measure.

“I think that the traditional polarization around gun-safety legislation has dampened considerably when we’re talking about domestic violence, and I’m hopeful that that tradition continues with this legislation,” Raskin said.

Del. Kathleen Dumais, who practices family law and works on divorce and custody cases, sponsored the bill last year before withdrawing it due to a pending legal case in a Maryland appellate court.

“Both sides agree we don’t want guns in the wrong hands, so when we can find legislation where that is the underlying basis usually we can get to a place of agreement,” said Dumais, D-Montgomery.

An average of 760 Americans were killed with guns annually by spouses, ex-spouses or dating partners between 2006 and 2014, according to an Associated Press analysis of FBI and Florida data. Florida’s statistics are not included in the FBI’s report, which covers all other states and District of Columbia, but were analyzed separately by AP.

The total is an undercount because not all law enforcement agencies report such information, and it doesn’t include children and other bystanders who were killed. More than 80 percent of those killed were women.

There were 93 deaths in Maryland from gun violence in domestic cases during that timeframe, according to the data.

In 2009, Maryland enacted a law requiring a judge to order firearms to be confiscated from people who have final protective orders filed against them for as long as the order is in effect. The state also enacted a law that gives judges discretion to order people under a temporary protective order to give up their firearms.

The laws were passed after then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown threw his support behind the legislation after his cousin was shot to death a year earlier by an estranged boyfriend.

In 2013, Maryland lawmakers passed a sweeping gun-control measure. The law contains a variety of provisions, including a licensing requirement for handgun purchasers to submit fingerprints to the state police in an effort to reduce the number of guns purchased by a friend or family member for someone who is not allowed to own a gun. Other key parts of the law included an assault weapons ban and a limit on magazines to 10 bullets. But on Thursday, a federal appeals court ordered a judge to reconsider her decision upholding the assault weapons ban and the 10-round limit on gun magazines.

The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence is holding its 28th Annual Domestic Violence Memorial Service in Annapolis on Monday night to remember the women, men and children who died in Maryland from domestic abuse. The event is held to focus attention on changing laws to reduce domestic violence and provide greater abuser accountability.

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