Legal Information: Federal

Federal Gun Laws

Updated: 
August 29, 2018

I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

If the order meets certain requirements, it is illegal for the abuser to buy, own, or have a gun while you have a final order of protection. The requirements are:

  • the order is issued after a hearing;
  • the abuser has to be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to attend (whether or not s/he actually attends doesn’t matter); and
  • the abuser must be:
    • your current or former spouse;
    • a person with whom who you have a child in common; or
    • a person with whom you live or have lived in the past;1 and
  • the order of protection must contain the following specific legal language:
    • it has to forbid the respondent from harassing, stalking, threatening, or behaving in any way that causes the petitioner to fear physical injury for him/herself or his/her child; and
    • it has to say one of the following:
      1. the abuser represents a threat to the physical safety of the petitioner or his/her child; or
      2. the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the petitioner or his/her child is not allowed (prohibited).2

The order of protection does not need to say that the abuser cannot have a gun for the federal law to apply.

To find out if your order qualifies, you can call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 1-800-903-0111 ext. 2. You can also read the exact wording of the law [18 USC § 922(g)(8)] on our Federal Statutes page.

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.

1 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
2 18 USC § 922(g)(8)