Today’s conversation with Professor Natalie Nanasi, who teaches at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, was recorded in mid-December. At the time, what drew me in to the conversation was that it was about something that runs completely counter to popular perceptions of the state of Texas, a state law and program to certain people to surrender their guns. However, recent events close to home here in Sacramento created a different, albeit tragic, parallel.
The Texas state law discussed in today’s episode requires people who are convicted of felony or misdemeanor domestic violence charges to surrender any and all firearms that they own. There have been numerous issues with enforcing that law – which we discuss in the podcast so I won’t go into all of them here – but one of the issues that factored into the difficulty of enforcing the law was the lack of awareness of it within the law enforcement community. It is an issue Prof. Nanasi and her colleagues are working to address by educating, and pushing for re-training of, the law enforcement community in Dallas County on this law, from police officers to prosecutors to judges, so that the law can be better enforced, and domestic violence survivors can be safer.
Just a few weeks ago, Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona was shot and killed while responding to a traffic collision in downtown Davis. The man who shot her, as part of a conviction for a September 2018 battery charge, was ordered to surrender firearms and ammunition that he owned pursuant to California Penal Code Section 29810. That section of penal code also prohibited him from acquiring, or attempting to acquire, any more guns or ammunition. He surrendered an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. However, investigators found two pistols at his residence, and at this time it is still unclear when and where he acquired those pistols. What is clear is that at some point, some part of the system broke down and there was a failure to fully enforce the law.
What we know from these recent tragic events as well as Department of Justice data is that the result of failing to fully enforce laws that take guns out of the hands of people who should not have them are inevitably tragic. It’s a reminder that the work Professor Nanasi and her colleagues at SMU’s Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women are doing is critically important.
We’ve posted a link to Professor Nanasi’s report – Taking Aim at Family Violence – A Report on the Dallas County Gun Surrender Program – so you can read it for free at your convenience. You can also keep up with Professor Nanasi’s work by following her SSRN author page or by following her on Twitter @NatalieNanasi.
You can listen to today’s conversation on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. And if you want to help more people hear this conversation, please subscribe to The CAP⋅impact Podcast on any of those services and leave a 5-star rating and a positive review. That makes it easier for the show to be found which in turn makes it easier for people to learn about Prof. Nanasi’s work.