If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Alabama state law says that anyone who has been convicted in Alabama or in another state of committing or attempting to the following crimes cannot own, possess, or have in his/her control a firearm:
- a crime of violence,1 which is defined as:
- assault (with intent to rob, ravish, or murder),
- kidnapping, and
- any Class A felony or any Class B felony that has as an element serious physical injury, the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, or is of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12;2
- a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence;1 or
- one of 51 violent offenses listed in the law, including stalking, domestic violence, domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, and more.3 (Note: You can read the whole list of 51 crimes on our AL Statutes page, sub-section 15 of section 12-25-32).
Federal laws, which apply to all states and territories, also restrict a person's right to have a gun under certain circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 Alabama Code § 13A-11-72(a)
2 Alabama Code § 13A-11-70(2)
3 Alabama Code §§ 13A-11-72(a); 12-25-32(15)
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. You can find contact information for courthouses on our AL Courthouse Locations page.
Criminal 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?