I do not have a protection order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?
Even if the abuser has not been convicted of a crime and you don’t have a protection order, under Arkansas law, it is illegal for someone to have any firearm if s/he has been:
- determined by a court (“adjudicated”) to be mentally ill; or
- committed involuntarily to any mental health institution.1
In addition, a person can be denied a license to carry a concealed weapon if s/he:
- is under 21 – although s/he can get a license at 18 if s/he is currently on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, in the reserves, or was honorably discharged; or is in the National Guard;
- is a danger to himself/herself or others due to his/her mental state;
- suffers from a mental or physical illness that prevents the safe handling of a gun;
- has threatened or attempted suicide;
- has been declared mentally incompetent by a court;
- has voluntarily or involuntarily been committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility;
- regularly uses drugs or alcohol to the point that his/her mental ability is harmed;
- has been committed to a treatment facility for drugs or alcohol;
- is not a US citizen or a permanent legal resident;
- is not a resident of Arkansas; (Note: It is also required that the person has resided continuously in Arkansas for the past 90 days unless the person or his/her spouse was on active duty in the military during that time);
- is prohibited by federal law to possess or transport a firearm for any of these reasons on our Federal Gun Laws page;
- is a fugitive or has a warrant out for his/her arrest.2 Note: A person can also be denied a license if the county sheriff or chief of police in the area where the applicant lives submits an affidavit to the department that issues licenses in which s/he states that:
- the applicant has been or is reasonably likely to be a danger to himself/herself or to others based on:
- threats of unlawful violence;
- participation in an incident involving unlawful violence; or
- past patterns of behavior; or
- the applicant is under a criminal investigation.3
If someone already has a license to carry a concealed weapon, that license can be revoked (canceled) if the department that issues licenses is notified by any law enforcement agency or a court that the license-holder 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.4
Even if it is not illegal for the abuser to have a gun, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Planning page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our AR Advocates and Shelters page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.
For additional information on gun laws in Arkansas, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 A.C.A. § 5-73-103(a)
2 A.C.A. § 5 -73-309
3 A.C.A. § 5 -73-308(b)(1)
4 See A.C.A. § 5 -73-308(a)(1)(B), (a)(3)
I've read through all of this information, and I am still confused. What can I do?
Trying to understand both federal and state laws can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.
- You can write to our Email Hotline.
- You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. See our AR Advocates and Shelters page.
- You can also contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.