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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The 19 different prescription medications Kathleen Storm takes are her daily reminder of a day she wishes she could forget. After 25 years of what she said was an abusive marriage, Storm had had enough.
“I called him and said ‘don’t come home,’” Storm said. “I’m leaving in the morning. It’s over.”
But before the she could make it our door that evening, her ex-husband made it home.
“I said, ‘Look, I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m done,’” she recalled from that day, “‘Just leave and I’’ll be gone.'”
That’s the last thing Storm remembers from that day. Storm’s ex-husband shot her in the back of the head with a .357 revolver before killing himself. The bullet severed the main artery in Storm’s brain.
She said, “It was a pure miracle that I was able to survive this.”
For years leading up to the shooting Storm said she thought about getting a protective order.
According to federal law, a protective order would have required her ex-husband to surrender his gun. Although, it’s unlikely anyone in North Texas at the time would have enforced it.
“That’s the kicker,” said Dallas County Judge Roberto Canas. “The law doesn’t say whose responsibility it is to enforce the law.”
In January of 2013, Ferdinand Smith walked into a parking garage at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and killed his estranged wife, Karen Smith. Smith had a protective order placed against him, so by law he should have never had that gun that night.
It’s a similar story with Erbie Bowser. It appears no one checked to see if he surrendered his gun, despite the protective order against him. In August of 2013, he allegedly went on a shooting rampage in DeSoto – killing his wife along with three others.
“We have to do something,” said Judge Canas.
This is why starting in January every person with a protective order against them who stands before Judge Canas will be required to take their gun to a private Dallas gun range near Dallas Love Field Airport. It will be held there for the length of the protective order which is typically 24 months.
Dallas County judges are the first in North Texas to attempt to enforce this nearly decade old federal law.
Canas admits there are plenty of ways to around the law. “The information gap is still going to be there, “he said. “You don’t really know what firearms are in someone’s home.”
But Kathleen Storm said had she known a judge would have told her ex-husband to turn-in his gun, she said she would have likely sought a protective order.
She said, “I really think that may have prevented my situation from happening.”
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