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Police Unaware Of Federal Gun Law

South-central Idaho authorities say they were not aware of a year-old federal law making it illegal for anyone under a domestic restraining order to have guns and ammunition.

Had they known, the law still would not have stopped Ricardo Barboza of the Magic Valley from killing his girlfriend and himself in May, because he used guns that were borrowed or stolen, authorities said.

“If you want a gun, you can get a gun,” Buhl Police Lt. Dick Floyd said.

U.S. Attorney for Idaho Betty Richardson recently sent letters to Idaho judges, prosecutors, sheriffs and police chiefs, making them aware of the law.

The person must have a court order restraining them from “harassing, stalking or threatening” a domestic partner or child “in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child.”

Some local sheriffs said they were concerned how their departments could seize and store all of the weapons they might have to confiscate when a person does not relinquish a cache of firearms.

“It could be a nightmare to work it,” said Jerome County Sheriff George Silver III.

The number of restraining orders requests is climbing. According to state statistics, 863 requests were filed in magistrate courts in the Magic Valley in 1994. The number is projected to hit 978 by year’s end.

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