If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Minnesota state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:
- was convicted of a “crime of violence” as defined in MN Statutes § 624.712(5), either as an adult or as a juvenile, either in Minnesota or similar crimes in another state;
- was convicted of a crime in another state similar to Minnesota’s crime of domestic assault (subdivision 3) or Minnesota’s assault in the 5th degree (subdivision 3) or was convicted in Minnesota of assault against a family or household member or domestic assault (subdivision 8);
- was convicted of a felony;
- was convicted of a drug-related misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor; however, if more than three years have passed since the conviction and s/he has no subsequent similar convictions, s/he may be able to possess a gun at that time; or was convicted in any state of any of the following gross misdemeanors: gang violence, bias assault, false imprisonment, neglect or endangerment of a child, burglary, stalking, setting a spring gun, and riot.1
Note: If more than three years have passed without further convictions then a person who falls into categories 2 or 4 may be able to possess a gun at that time.
1 MN Statutes § 624.713(1)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Criminal 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?