If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
It is illegal for someone to have a firearm that is small enough to be carried as a concealed weapon if s/he was convicted of a felony or was found "delinquent" as a minor for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult.However, it is no longer illegal if ten years have passed since the person completed any jail sentence, parole, and probation. This applies to all felonies and for most juvenile convictions.1
In addition, in regards to domestic violence crimes, in particular, if a person used a firearm (or had it in his/her possession) while committing the crime of domestic violence, either of the following could apply:
- as part of a law enforcement officer's investigation of the crime, the officer can take (seize) any firearms owned or possessed by the abuser to be used as evidence in court - however, the firearms can be returned to the abuser if they are not needed as evidence; or
- as part of the sentencing for being convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, the judge must order the weapon used to be taken away (forfeited).2
Lastly, under Alaska state law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if s/he has been convicted of two or more class A misdemeanors (in any state) within the past six years.3
If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser's right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 Alaska Statute §§ 11.61.200(a)(1), (b)(1)(c) ; 12.55.185(18)
2 Alaska Statute §§ 12.55.015(f); 18.65.515(b)
3 Alaska Statute § 18.65.705(4)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
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 What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?