Alabama police took his gun away after a violent domestic incident. Nine months later they gave it back, and he used it to shoot and kill his wife.

Late one night in February 2019, a 31-year-old girl in a troubled marriage was rushed to an emergency room in a Birmingham, Alabama, suburb, with a gunshot wound in her upper arm.

“He shot me,” Megan Montgomery told physicians, according to an investigative report obtained exclusively by NBC News. By”he,” she meant her husband, a local police officer called Jason McIntosh.

Six months after, the state’s top law enforcement agency gave it despite impending domestic violence charges and an active protective order. Only 16 days after that, he used the gun to shoot and kill her through the next late-night dispute.

Montgomery’s loved ones were ruined by the loss of a devoted husband and daughter, a marketing professional with a passion for animal rescue. They were stunned to be told recently by NBC News that the nation had given her abuser back the weapon he was able to kill her.

“So the controlling order can prohibit him from’contacting, calling, texting, harassing, stalking,’ but by the way, you can have a gun? That’s ridiculous,” said Megan’s mum, Susann Montgomery-Clark.

Even the shot’s attorney was shocked he got his weapon back. “In my view it was irrational, illogical and not wise to do so,” said attorney Tommy Spina, who emphasized that he was not excusing his customer’s actions. Spina stated that with no firearm,”I don’t believe what happened that night could have occurred that evening.”

Women whose domestic abusers have access to a firearm are five times as likely to be taken and killed, based on research financed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

These murders are also on the upswing. After a triple-decade decrease in circumstances where women were killed by guns wielded with their romantic partners, the number of deaths has been rising since 2013, according to a analysis of FBI data by criminologist James Alan Fox at Northeastern University.

In 2019, the most recent year the information can be obtained, 964 girls were shot and murdered by their domestic partners compared to 211 people who died that year from mass shootings. That is one woman murdered by an intimate partner every nine hours.

While federal law and lots of state statutes prohibit domestic firearm from owning a firearm when a domestic violence protective order is in place, few states really take the guns away or keep them away from abusers after a protective order is issued. Alabama has such a law, but nationally abusers often wind up maintaining their weapons.

Experts say the reason is that a combination of deference to gun rights to the part of judges and other officials, the absence of a defined procedure to remove the guns and a lack of awareness by law enforcement about how lethal the risk can be.