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Disarming Domestic Abusers

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By Eric Alvarez

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Davidson County District Attorney's office confiscated a handgun from a convicted abuser, one of the first cases of its kind, the department said Wednesday.

Victim's advocates call that a big first step.

"We are absolutely thrilled that the DA's office is taking a strong stand about getting weapons away from offenders," said Kathy Walsh, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. "Right now, Tennessee ranks 10th in the nation for the most women who are killed every year by a batterer with a gun."

The DA's office says historically, abusers could keep their guns simply by lying in the courtroom, when asked if they owned a gun.

"Unfortunately there's not always a lot of follow up to see if they do in fact own a gun," said Tali Rosenblum, team leader for the domestic violence unit. "But now with making it part of the plea deal, they actually allow our team to confiscate the gun, we can ensure that the gun is taken away immediately."

It's a legal tactic Walsh says she'd like to see used in other counties.

"I certainly would like to see every jurisdiction take a stance about getting guns out of the hands of offenders who should not have them," Walsh said.

Metro police says half of all violent crimes in Nashville are domestic cases.

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