If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
According to Colorado state law, a person who has been convicted of certain crimes cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. The permit will be denied if:
- s/he has been convicted of a felony, attempt to commit a felony, or conspiracy to commit a felony; or
- s/he has been convicted of perjury related to information provided on a concealed handgun permit application.1
In addition, it is illegal for anyone to possess a firearm if s/he is on probation after being convicted of a crime that involved domestic violence. An exception can be made, however, for a defendant whose job requires the use of a firearm if the judge believes that the victim and his/her child would not be endangered and the gun is not stored in the defendant’s home.2
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if s/he was convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-12-203(1)(c),(d); 18-12-108
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-204(2)(b)(IV)
If a law enforcement officer or other government employee is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony, can s/he have or buy a gun?
Maybe. Law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony cannot have or buy guns for any purpose, including their official duties, according to federal law.1
However, an exception may be made under Colorado state law if a convicted criminal is on probation.2 If the abuser is a law enforcement officer or other government official and you fear that s/he may threaten or harm you with a gun, it is important to let the judge (and even possibly the probation officer) know this information.
You may also wish to consult our Safety Tips page to learn more about staying safe. 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 CO Advocates and Shelters page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.
1 18 USC § 925(a)(1)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-204(2)(b)(IV)(A-C)
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.
Federal law specifically prohibits possession of a firearm if the person is convicted of any felony or of a domestic violence misdemeanor. Criminal records that would make a person ineligible to purchase a firearm 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?