The abuser has a gun. Is that legal?
Under federal law, there are several situations that make it illegal for the abuser to buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession. Someone can’t own a gun if s/he:
- has a final order of protection against him/her that meets certain requirements;
- has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor;
- has been convicted of any felony;
- is a fugitive from justice (fled any state to avoid being prosecuted or to avoid testifying in any criminal proceeding);
- is an unlawful user of or addicted to drugs (controlled substances) - but this does not include alcohol or tobacco;
- has been declared by a judge to be mentally incompetent or was committed to a mental institution against his/her will;
- has been found not guilty by reason of insanity or has been found incompetent to stand trial;
- is an immigrant who is illegally or unlawfully present in the U.S.;
- has been dishonorably discharged from the military; or
- has given up (renounced) her/his citizenship to the U.S.1
Note: An abuser who works for a government organization, such as a police officer or military servicemember, may still be allowed to possess a work-issued firearm even if s/he was convicted of a felony or if s/he has an order of protection issued against him/her. Please see The abuser uses a gun for his/her job. Does the law still apply? for more information.
There could be additional circumstances under your state’s law where it would be illegal to own or have a gun. Please go to our State Gun Laws page for more information.
1 18 USC § 922(g); 27 C.F.R. § 478.11