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Información Legal: Dakota del Norte

State Gun Laws

19 de marzo de 2020

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

If the abuser is prohibited from having a firearm because you have a protection order against him/her, it can be given to the
sheriff/chief of police in the county/city in which the abuser lives for “safekeeping.” The abuser can get the firearm back once the protection order expires.1 If the abuser used or possessed a firearm while committing felony or a misdemeanor involving violence or intimidation, the firearm will be taken by law enforcement and forfeited (not returned to the abuser). Law enforcement can sell the firearm, use it, or destroy it.2

1 See ND Statutes §§ 14-07.1-02(4)(g); 14-07.1-03(2)(d)
2 ND Statutes § 62.1-01-02(1)

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 ND Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in North Dakota 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 ND 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 

1 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)

What is the penalty for violating state or federal firearm laws?

If there is a specific provision written into the protection order that the abuser cannot possess a gun and s/he violates this provision, it can be a violation of North Dakota state law as follows:

  • for the first violation, a class A misdemeanor, which can be punished by jail time of up to 1 year, a fine of up to $3,000, or both;1 and
  • for a second (or subsequent) violation, a class C felony, which can be punished by jail time of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.2

Also, if someone possesses a gun in violation of any of the conditions explained in I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?, it is a class C felony if s/he violates the conditions listed in #1, #2, or #3, and a class A misdemeanor if s/he violates the conditions listed in #4 or #5.3

Note: Under federal law, which applies to all states, anyone who has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm laws can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.4  However, as with any criminal case, the actual sentence the abuser gets may depend on a lot of different factors.

1 ND Statutes §§ 14-07.1-06; 12.1-32-01(5)
2 ND Statutes §§ 14-07.1-06; 12.1-32-01(4)
3 ND Statutes § 62.1-02-01(1) 
4 18 USC § 924(a)(2)

¿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.

1National Criminal Justice Reference Service website