ROCKVILLE, MD (WUSA9)--Domestic violence. Every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted. Three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners every day. And often the weapon of choice is a gun.
In Montgomery County there's a seize and destroy mission taking place to curb the violence.
Several times a year the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office brings firearms seized from people under a protective order, or convicted of domestic violence, to the Dickerson Incinerator. It is here the firearms are melted down.
"State and federal law does not allow us to give guns back because of certain prohibitions. If you've been charged with a domestic assault or other criminal convictions you are prohibited forever of being in possession of a gun," says Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin.
Montgomery County seizes hundreds of guns from domestic violence offenders every year.
"Because we know once a victim of domestic violence has the courage to go forward to either press charges or get a protective order the first 24 to 72 hours that is in the window of time when in many instances there is a lot of emotion," says Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy.
McCarthy says in 2010 the county did not have a single domestic violence homicide. Last year there were two. McCarthy credits the mandatory seizure of guns as one tool for keeping the numbers low in this jurisdiction of over one million people.
"To go an entire calendar year and not have a domestic violence homicide tells me something is being done right in this community," says McCarthy.
Sheriff Popkin says his department oversees thousands of domestic violence protective orders every year. And at any given time his deputies have 200 guns in their possession that have cases pending before the courts.