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Know the Laws: Connecticut

UPDATED December 7, 2015

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Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find help, please click on the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.

Guns and DVPOs

back to topI have a temporary restraining order against the abuser. Do I have to wait until I receive a permanent restraining order before his/her gun is taken away?

Maybe. If the judge gave you an ex parte temporary restraining order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done, it could still be LEGAL for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary restraining order, it is possible that it is ILLEGAL for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  The order of protection must also meet certain other requirements, though. Read I have a final restraining order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun? to find out more.

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back to topI have a final restraining order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

No.  According to federal law, if you have a restraining order against the abuser that meets federal law requirements (see below), the abuser cannot have a gun in his/her possession, or buy a new gun while the order is in effect.*  According to Connecticut state law, someone with a restraining order against him/her in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person cannot have a gun or ammunition in his/her possession while the order is in effect.**

The federal requirements are:
  1. the abuser has to be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to attend (whether or not s/he actually attends doesn’t matter); and
  2. the abuser must be either your current or former spouse, a person with whom you have a child in common, or a person with whom you live or have lived in the past;*** and
  3. the order of protection must contain specific legal language:
    • it has to forbid the respondent from harassing, stalking, threatening, or behaving in any way that causes the petitioner to fear physical injury for himself/herself or his/her child AND
      • either state that the abuser represents a threat to the physical safety of the petitioner or his/her child; or
      • specifically prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the petitioner or his/her child.** 

Note: This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.****

If the abuser is a police officer, member of the military, or someone else who uses a gun for his/her job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options.  To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit our CT State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 922(g)(8)
** C.G.S.A. §§ 29-36f(b); 53a-217(a)
*** 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
**** 18 USC § 925(a)(1)

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back to topThe abuser did not show up for the restraining order hearing. Can his/her gun still be taken away?

Maybe. The abuser does not have to come to the hearing in order for the law to apply to him/her, but s/he does have to be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to attend.*

If no hearing is scheduled, and/or no notice is given to the abuser about the court hearing, then the federal firearm law likely may not apply to the abuser.**

* 18 USC §922(g)(8); See, for example, United States v. Bunnell, 106 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D. Me. 2000), aff'd 280 F. 3d 46 (1st Cir. 2002)
** See, for example, United States v. Spruill, 292 F. 3d 207 (5th Cir. 2002)

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