I have a temporary restraining order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?
Connecticut state law prohibits someone from getting a certificate to carry a pistol or revolver if there is an ex parte restraining order against him/her that was issued due to the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person. The law says this specifically includes an ex parte domestic violence relief from abuse order and an ex parte civil protection order due to sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.1 If s/he already has a certificate to carry a pistol or revolver, it will be revoked once an ex parte order is issued and s/he will be required to turn in his/her certificate to law enforcement within five days of receiving notice of the revocation.2
However, the Connecticut criminal laws (section 53a-217 and 53a-217c) that make it a crime to have any firearm or ammunition in one’s possession only refer to restraining orders that were issued after notice and a hearing, not ex parte orders.3 Therefore, if the judge gave you an ex parte temporary restraining order, which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser, it could still be legal for the abuser to possess certain types of firearms and ammunition.
1 C.G.S.A. § 29-36f(b)(6)
2 C.G.S.A. § 29-36i(a), (b)
3 C.G.S.A. §§ 53a-217(a); 53a-217c(a)
I have a final restraining order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
According to Connecticut state law, someone with a restraining order against him/her (including an ex parte order) that was issued due to the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person cannot get a certificate to carry a pistol or revolver.1 If s/he already has a certificate to carry a pistol or revolver, it will be revoked once a restraining order is issued, including an ex parte order, and s/he will be required to turn in the certificate to law enforcement within five days of receiving notice of the revocation.2
In addition, Connecticut criminal law prohibits the respondent on a final restraining order that was issued after a notice and hearing from having any firearm or ammunition in his/her possession while the order is in effect.2
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 C.G.S.A. § 29-36f(b)(6)
2 C.G.S.A. § 53a-217(a); see also C.G.S.A. § 53a-217c(a)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a restraining order?
Here are a few things that may help:
- If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s);
- Ask the judge to specifically write in your restraining order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for a restraining order will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section.
- Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction is written on your order.
It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser’s guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the restraining order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:
- Require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser’s house and get them;
- Make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
- Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.