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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.

More Information and Where to Get Help

back to topIf the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

If the abuser's gun is taken away after you receive a protective order against the abuser, it may be held by a law enforcement agency while your protective order is in effect. Once your order expires, the gun will be returned to the abuser.

If the abuser's gun is taken away after s/he is convicted of a crime (either a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor), generally, the gun will be destroyed and not given back to the abuser.



 

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back to topWho do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police.  If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our OK Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in Oklahoma on the ATF website.  For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867).  Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer.

A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our OK State and Local Programs page.

Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law.  If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.*

* United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

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back to topWhat is the penalty for violating federal and state firearm laws?

Anyone who owns, has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm law can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.*  Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and has or buys a gun in violation of Oklahoma state law can be punished by a prison sentence of up to ten years.**

* 18 USC § 924(a)(2)
** 21 O.S. § 1284

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back to topI do not have a restraining order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Is there anything I can do?

Even if the abuser has not been convicted of a crime and you do not have a restraining order against him/her, a person can be prohibited from getting a handgun license for a certain period of time if any of the following are true:

  • s/he has been to impatient treatment for substance abuse;
  • s/he 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;
  • s/he has attempted suicide within the past 10 years; or
  • s/he has a convicted felon (or adjudicated delinquent) living in his/her home or s/he is an adjudicated delinquent.*

If this is your situation, please talk to someone in your area about how this law is being enforced.  An advocate at a local domestic violence organization may be able to answer your questions.

The sheriff department or ATF branch office may also be able to help. You can find contact information for your local sheriff on our OK Sheriff Departments page. See Who do I notify if I think my abuser should not have a gun? to find contact information for an ATF branch office near you.

If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Staying Safe page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence program for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our OK State and Local Programs page.

For additional information on gun laws in Oklahoma, you can go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence website

* 21 O.S. § 1290.11

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back to topWhat will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Before purchasing a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  If the abuser has a qualifying protection order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in any state, those records should be in the NICS, which should prevent the abuser from buying a gun.  Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system.  Also, it is important to know that background checks are not required for private and online gun sales.  

If the abuser is able to purchase a gun and you believe that s/he should not be able to have one under the law, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away and perhaps the police will investigate.  Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one.

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back to topThe abuser uses a gun for his/her job. Does the law still apply?

Maybe.  If the abuser is a law enforcement officer, military employee or government employee, then s/he might be able to continue to use his/her gun for work purposes, but not for personal use.

However, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, then under federal law, the abuser cannot buy or have a gun, even if s/he is a police officer or a military employee.*

If you are confused or not sure whether or not the abuser can still use a gun for work purposes, you can talk to a domestic violence advocate in your area or call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to find out more information: 1-800-903-0111 x2.

To find a domestic violence advocate in your area, please go to our OK State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 925(a)(1)

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back to topI've read through this information and I'm still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing. There are people who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.

  • You can write to our Email Hotline.
  • You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area - see our OK State and Local Programs page.
  • You can also contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.

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