Know the Laws:
UPDATED April 11, 2011
The following information explains how an order of protection or criminal conviction affects an abuser’s right to have a gun under federal law. However, in addition to these federal gun laws, there may also be state-specific laws that may apply. In order to fully understand all of the legal protections available, please also read your state’s State Gun Laws section by entering your state on the left-hand side of the screen, and clicking on State Gun Laws.
WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area.
Under federal law, there are two situations that make it illegal for the abuser to buy, own or have a gun in his possession:
First, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, s/he can never legally buy, own or have a gun.*
Second, if you have a final order of protection against the abuser (assuming the order meets the certain requirements), it is illegal for the abuser to buy, own, or have a gun in his/her possession during the period of time that you have the order of protection.* Read I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away? to find out more.
Please note that this is a federal law, which should apply to all states. However, many states are not following this law and have their own rules which may be stricter, or less strict. Please check your state's rule on this website and/or talk to an advocate at a domestic violence organization in your area about how this law is being applied.
* 18 USC § 922(g)(1) & (9)
** 18 USC § 922(g)(8)