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Know the Laws: Oklahoma

UPDATED May 25, 2017

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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. Go to the OK Where to Find Help page to find help.

Basic Info

back to topWhat is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both "federal gun laws" and "state gun laws."  The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself.  Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws.  Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well.  You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws.  Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws.  If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor.  If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor).  For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?  If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

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back to topI am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Possibly.  If you have a protection order against the abuser, or if s/he has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor, then federal law states that it is illegal for the abuser to buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession.*  There are certain requirements that your order must meet for it to qualify under federal law. See I have a protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun? to read more about what those requirements are.  If you are not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors? To read the definition of a felony, see What is a felony?

In addition, Oklahoma state law says that a person cannot get a handgun license if s/he:

    • has been arrested for, has a charge pending for, is subject to a deferred sentence or prosecution, or has been convicted of any of the following misdemeanor crimes:
  • any assault and battery that caused serious physical injury to the victim or any subsequent assault and battery;
  • any aggravated assault and battery;
  • any stalking crime;
  • any violation of a victim protection from any state;
  • any violation relating to illegal drug use or possession (unless it was a misdemeanor conviction related to illegal drug use or possession in which case s/he can be eligible for a handgun license 10 years from the date of completion of incarceration, probation, and parole related to the conviction/sentence); or
  • an act of domestic abuse from this state (as is defined here under Oklahoma law) or from any state;
    • has a misdemeanor criminal record showing habitual (frequent) criminal activity;
    • has a final victim protection order against him/her (from any state);
    • has been arrested for a felony or has a pending felony charge against him/her in Oklahoma (s/he cannot have a gun until the case's outcome is determined);
    • has been convicted of a felony (in any state) or has a felony warrant out for him/her;
    • has been to impatient treatment for substance abuse;
    • has been declared mentally incompetent, involuntarily committed for mental illness, has undergone treatment for a mental illness, which required medication or supervision or is currently undergoing treatment for a mental illness, condition, or disorder;
    • has attempted suicide within the past 10 years;
    • has been convicted of two or more times for drunk driving or being drunk in public; or
    • has a convicted felon (or adjudicated delinquent) living in his/her home or is an adjudicated delinquent or convicted felon.**

Note: There are certain time periods that apply to each of the criteria above - for example, a person may only be prohibited from getting a handgun license for a period of 3 years after one of the arrests or convictions mentioned above.  To read all of the timeframes that apply to each, please go to our OK Statutes page and read sections 1290.10 and 1290.11 of Title 21.

* 18 USC § 922(g)
** 21 O.S. §§ 1290.10; 1290.11

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back to topWhat crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?

A crime is considered a domestic violence misdemeanor under Federal law if it:

  • Can be defined as a misdemeanor under federal or state law; and
  • Involves physical violence or force, or includes threats made with a deadly weapon; and
  • Was committed by:
    • a current or former spouse;
    • a parent or guardian of the victim;
    • a person with whom the victim shares a child;
    • a person living with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian;
    • or a person who has a similar relationship with the spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.*

Note: The crime does not have to specifically mention "domestic violence" in order for it to be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor, and for the federal firearm law to apply. The relationship that the victim has with the offender is what determines whether or not the misdemeanor is a "domestic violence" misdemeanor.

For example: If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his wife, he may no longer have or buy a gun.
If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his neighbor, he may still be able to have or buy a gun.

If you're not sure if a certain crime counts as a domestic violence misdemeanor, you can write to our Email Hotline for further information and resources.

 * 18 USC 921 (a) (33)

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back to topWhat is the definition of a felony?

A felony under federal law is a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.*

* 18 USC § 3559

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