If the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
No. Under federal law, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, s/he cannot have or buy a gun.1 Under Iowa state law, a person who has been convicted of:
- a felony; or
- any serious or aggravated misdemeanor defined in chapter 708 (for example, assault, stalking, harassment) within the previous three years which does not involve the use of a firearm or explosive.1
If you’re not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?
1 18 USC 922(g)(9)
2 IA ST § 724.8
If a law enforcement officer or other government employee is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, can s/he have or buy a gun?
No. Law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony cannot have or buy guns for any purpose, including their official duties, according to federal law.1
1 18 USC 925(a)(1)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.
Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.
To read more about the NICS, please see the question, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?