Governor McAuliffe Announces $158,644 in Protective Order Grant Awards
~Local sheriffs’ offices to receive federal funding to implement new law~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that $158,644 in federal funds will be awarded to three sheriffs’ offices which have agreed to accept firearms from subjects of final Family Abuse Protective Orders. The grants are part of the implementation of new domestic violence protections at the center of the bipartisan gun safety package the Governor signed into law earlier this year.
“The historic and bipartisan gun safety package we passed this year will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am proud of the work my team and I did to get these reforms passed, and to work with localities to see them implemented quickly and effectively. These funds will assist the winning localities as they accept firearms that would often otherwise remain in homes where dangerous and volatile domestic violence situations are happening. I want to thank the sheriffs’ offices who stepped forward to win this funding and everyone who is working to keep our communities safe from domestic violence and senseless gun crimes.”
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services made funds available in order to support the implementation of the new law and facilitate the safe transfer of firearms. Funds were awarded on September 15, 2016 by the Criminal Justice Services Board.
As part of the historic agreement, individuals who are subject to final Family Abuse Protective Orders are now prohibited from possessing firearms and must turn relinquish their firearms within 24 hours or face a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $2,500 fine and permanent loss of firearms rights. As a result of the bipartisan agreement to remove firearms from abusive and violent domestic situations, Virginia now has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the nation.
“Studies consistently demonstrate that domestic violence calls are the most dangerous calls for our men and women in uniform,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “This funding will not only protect victims of domestic violence, but will also protect our law enforcement officers from the lethal intersection of domestic violence and firearms.”
The three localities that have been selected as recipients of this competitive grant funding are the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office. Dinwiddie will receive $67,189 to develop and implement a local policy, develop and maintain a database related to protective orders and facilitate the surrender, storage and return of firearms. Franklin County will receive $63,410 to establish protocols and resources to accept and store firearms from subjects of these protective orders. Wise County Sheriff’s Office will receive $28,045 to purchase equipment to accept and store firearms from subjects of these orders.
“These funds will be used to better prepare our office to house firearms for individuals who have been placed under a Family Abuse Permanent Protective Order,” said Wise County Sheriff Ronald D. Oakes. “We hope that this provision will prevent anyone who is under such an order from possessing a firearm and thus prevent any harm to a victim.”
Wise County Commonwealth Attorney and Director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program Charles Slemp stated, “We are thankful for the grant award for Wise County's efforts to combat domestic violence and bring awareness to this important issue. My office continues to work closely with the Wise County Sheriff's Department in seeking resources to assist victims of domestic abuse.”