NewsDenver7 | Investigates


'That law doesn't work': DA says Colorado gun law is broken; Lone Tree dad shouldn't have had a gun

Posted at 5:44 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 20:35:43-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- Domestic violence abusers with protection orders are supposed to turn over their weapons under Colorado law, but Contact7 Investigates has found that doesn't always happen.

Anthony Tesoriero, who shot his ten-year-old son, Ty, and then killed himself, is one of those abusers who never should have had a gun, but clearly did.

"This is obviously an extremely difficult case, especially in the rear-view mirror. This is the worst conceivable outcome to anyone of these domestic violence type cases," said 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler. "You can't help but ask, should we have done something different? Could we have achieved something different?"

Brauchler said the law passed by Colorado lawmakers in 2013 to prevent domestic violence abusers, with protection orders from owning or buying weapons, simply isn't working.

A law which should have prevented Tesoriero from ever having a gun.

"Problem is, that law does not work," said Brauchler.

The law states domestic abusers with protection orders must turn over their firearms within 72 hours and notify the court. Fail to do so, and "the court shall issue a warrant for the respondent's arrest."

"We filed, I think, seven different motions seeking warrants for the arrest of the domestic violence perpetrators who were under these protection orders who failed to provide that notice to the court that says, 'Hey, we've turned our weapons over to someone else,'" said Brauchler.

But he said the courts have "denied" these motions saying they won't grant an arrest warrant for non-compliance in these cases.

"Every county court judge signed off on an order that said, 'No we're not going to do it, and no, we don't think the law requires us to do it,'" he explained. "That left us with no other options. It's a law that is toothless and largely unenforceable."

Tesoriero never turned in this gun, even after his ex-wife filed a mandatory protection order against him in 2015. A gun he never should have had, used to do the unimaginable.

"They need to acknowledge that this law is ineffective, it does not work, not by word and certainly not by practice and it needs to change — if that's our goal," said Brauchler.

Brauchler said the legislature could close the loophole just by tweaking the language. He said they are aware of the problem but for some reason haven't fixed it.

"You have created a law where the DA has no role to play at all, and when we try to play a role what we're told is — you don't have the information to force us into enforcing this law," he said. "What we need to do is change the law to make it clear that whether you have a firearm or whether you don't, you must file something with the court that says either I don't, or I've turned it over to someone else."

More coverage

Judge found Lone Tree dad had 'zero credibility' just hours before murder, but didn't remove boy

Man who killed son, himself should not have had gun due to law regarding domestic violence abusers

'Nobody did anything': Colo. mother says system failed to protect her murdered son

Colorado mother tried for 15 months to protect murdered son from ex, but 'nobody wanted to investigate'

‘Maybe they were scared’: Worker on Lone Tree custody case says father bullied system to get his way