Legal Information: Federal

Federal Gun Laws

Updated: 
August 29, 2018

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he legally keep or buy a gun?

Under federal law, if the abuser has been convicted of any felony or of a domestic violence misdemeanor, s/he cannot legally have or buy a gun unless one of the following exceptions apply:

  1. If the person was convicted of one domestic violence misdemeanor that was committed against a current or former dating partner, s/he gets his/her right to have a firearm back after five years if during those five years, s/he does not get convicted of:
    • any crimes that have the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon as an element of the crime; or
    • any felony.1
  2. 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 in certain circumstances.2 Please see The abuser uses a gun for his/her job. Does the law still apply? for more information.

Note: In addition, it is illegal to have or buy a gun if the abuser is a “fugitive from justice,” which means s/he has fled any state to avoid being prosecuted or to avoid testifying in any criminal proceeding.3

1 18 USC § 922(g)(1), (g)(9)
2 18 USC §§ 925(a)(1); 922(d)(9), (g)(9)
3 18 USC § 922(g)(2)

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