If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Arkansas state law says that a person can be denied a license to carry a concealed weapon if s/he:
- has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence or of "carrying a weapon" within the last 5 years (unless the person received a suspended sentence for the crime or it was expunged);1
- has been convicted of a felony in any state;
- has been found guilty of a drug crime or 2 or more alcohol-related crimes within the last 3 years; or
- is a fugitive or has a warrant out for his/her arrest.2
If s/he already has a license to carry a concealed weapon, that license can be revoked (canceled) if:
- the person has been found guilty of a crime of violence within the last 3 years; or
- the department that issues licenses is notified by any law enforcement agency or a court that the license-holder (or applicant) is arrested or formally charged with a crime that would disqualify him/her from having a license. The license can be revoked until the criminal case is decided; at that point, it can continue to be revoked or it can be re-instated, depending on the outcome of the case.3
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 A.C.A. § 5 -73-308(a)(1)(A),(a)(2)
2 A.C.A. § 5 -73-309
3 see A.C.A. § 5 -73-308(a)(1)(B),(a)(3)
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 your abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.
Criminal convictions 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 buy a gun when he isn't supposed to?