If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?
If the abuser’s license to carry concealed firearms is suspended or revoked for any of the reasons mentioned in I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?, the commissioner of the Department of Kentucky State Police will either:
- order any peace officer to seize (take) the license; or
- direct the abuser to surrender the license to the sheriff within two business days of receiving the notice of suspension (and then send a law enforcement officer to seize it if s/he doesn’t surrender it within that timeframe).1 However, if the license is suspended due to an emergency protective order or a domestic violence order being issued, the abuser has to surrender that license to the court or to the law enforcement officer who serves him/her with the order2 (which might happen before s/he gets the notice of suspension).
If the abuser doesn’t surrender a suspended or revoked license as ordered, it is a Class A misdemeanor crime.3
Although the law is clear about what will happen to an abuser’s license to carry concealed weapons if it is suspended or revoked, the law is less specific about what will happen to the abuser’s actual firearms. The law says that during an emergency protective order or domestic violence order proceeding, the judge is supposed to “inform the respondent regarding the purchase of a firearm, and the surrender of same” as well as regarding the “confiscation, retention, and return of firearms.”4
To find out how law enforcement or the courts in your county generally deal with the surrender of an abuser’s actual firearms, you may want to talk to an advocate at your local domestic violence program. Go to our KY Advocates and Shelters page for a listing of organizations in your county.
1 KRS § 237.110(13)(c),(h)
2 KRS § 237.110(13)(k)
3 KRS § 237.110(13)(i)
4 Kentucky FCRPP 13(6)
Who 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 KY Sheriff Departments page.
You can find ATF field offices in Kentucky 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 KY Advocates and Shelters 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.1
1United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)
¿Qué pasará si el agresor intenta comprar un arma?
Antes de comprar un arma de fuego de un/a vendedor/a licenciado/a, todos los/las compradores/as deben someterse a un chequeo de antecedentes penales realizado por el Sistema Nacional de Chequeo Instantáneo de Antecedentes Penales (“National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” o “NICS” por sus siglas en inglés). El Sistema Nacional de Chequeo Instantáneo de Antecedentes Penales es utilizado por los/as licenciatarios/as federales de armas de fuego (“FFLs,” por sus siglas en inglés) para determinar de forma instantánea si alguien es elegible para recibir explosivos o armas de fuego.1 Si el/la agresor/a tiene una orden de protección calificada en su contra o, si ha sido sentenciado/a por un delito grave o un delito menos grave por violencia doméstica intrafamiliar en cualquier estado, esos registros deben estar en el NICS, lo cual debería imposibilitarle a el/la agresor/a comprar un arma de fuego. No todos los estados tienen un sistema automatizado de registro, lo que dificulta el proceso de verificación de antecedentes penales, por lo tanto, algunos criminales y agresores/as logran burlar el sistema. También es importante saber que no se necesita una verificación de antecedentes penales para ventas privadas y a través del Internet.
Si el/la agresor/a pudo comprar un arma y usted entiende que él/ella no debe tener una legalmente, usted puede avisarle a la policía y pedir que le quiten el arma y quizás ellos/as lo/a investigarán. Generalmente no es buena idea asumir que porque el/la agresor/a pudo comprar un arma, es legal que la tenga.
What is the penalty for violating the state or federal firearm laws?
Under Kentucky state law, if a convicted felon has a handgun in his/her possession, it is a Class C felony and s/he can be sentenced to between 5 and 10 years in prison, a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000, or both. Possession of any other firearm by a convicted felon is a Class D felony, and s/he can be sentenced to between 1 and 5 years in prison, a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000, or both.1
In addition, if the abuser’s license to carry concealed firearms is suspended or revoked for any of the reasons mentioned in I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?, and s/he doesn’t surrender the license as s/he is ordered to do, it can be a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor can be up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both.2
Also, 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.3 Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 KRS §§ 527.040(2); 532.060(c),(d); 534.030(1)
2 KRS §§ 237.110(13)(i); 534.040(1); 532.090(1)
3 18 USC § 924(a)(2)