If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Possibly not. If the abuser has been convicted of any of these crimes, it could be illegal to have a firearm in his/her possession. It is illegal under Connecticut state law for a person to possess (have) a firearm or ammunition and s/he can be denied a certificate to carry a revolver or pistol if:
- s/he has been convicted of a felony;
- s/he has been convicted of any of the following misdemeanors committed on or after October 1, 2013:
- illegal possession [of a controlled substance]
- criminally negligent homicide;
- assault in the 3rd degree;
- assault of an elderly, blind, disabled or pregnant person or a person with intellectual disability;
- threatening in the second degree;
- reckless endangerment in the first degree;
- unlawful restraint in the second degree;
- riot in the first degree;
- riot in the second degree;
- inciting to riot;
- stalking in the second degree;
- s/he has been convicted as delinquent for a "serious juvenile offense;" or
- s/he has been discharged from custody within the past 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental disease or defect.1
In addition, even without a conviction for a crime, if a state's attorney or any two police officers believe that a person who possesses one or more firearms poses a risk of immediate personal injury to himself/herself or to others, the state's attorney or police officers can ask a judge to issue a warrant to seize all firearms and ammunition from that person.2 In determining whether or not to issue this warrant, the judge can consider: (1) recent threats or acts of violence by such person directed toward other persons or toward himself/herself; and (2) recent acts of cruelty to animals.3 After a hearing (in which the person has a right to defend himself/herself), the judge could order that the guns and ammunition be seized (taken) and held for up to one year.4 If you have involvement with a police officer or state’s attorney due to an incident with the abuser, you may want to ask him/her about this option.
Also, under federal laws, which apply to all states, it is illegal to possess a firearm if a person was convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 C.G.S.A. §§ 53a-217(a); 29-36f
2 C.G.S.A. § 29-38c(a)
3 C.G.S.A. § 29-38c(b)
4 C.G.S.A. § 29-38c(d)
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 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?