Legal Information: Federal

Federal Gun Laws

Updated: 
August 29, 2018

The abuser uses a gun for his/her job. Does the law still apply?

The law that makes it illegal for a person who has an order of protection issued against him/her or for a person who was convicted of a felony to have a gun is different when the person works for a governmental agency. Most often, employees of governmental agencies who would use a gun on duty are law enforcement officers, such as police, sheriffs, and correction officers, and members of the military. However, it is possible that other governmental agency positions may require the use of a firearm as well.

The law clearly states that a police officer or military servicemember (or other governmental agency employee) who is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor can never possess a firearm, including both for personal use or while on duty. However, the law allows a police officer or military servicemember (or other governmental agency employee) who was convicted of a felony or who has an order of protection issued against him/her to possess a firearm if the firearm was "imported for, sold or shipped to, or issued for the use of" a federal, state, or local government agency. In other words, a police officer or military servicemember (or other governmental agency employee) who has been convicted of a felony or who is subject to an order of protection can still possess an agency-issued firearm while on duty.1

In addition, the law is clear that a police officer or military servicemember (or other governmental agency employee) cannot buy a gun for personal use. However, it's not entirely clear under the law whether or not a governmental agency could give an agency-issued firearm to a person who was convicted of a felony or who is subject to an order of protection for his/her personal use.1 Each governmental agency may interpret the law differently and therefore may have different policies on this.

If you are confused or not sure whether the abuser can still use a gun for work purposes, you can contact us on our Email Hotline or call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 1-800-903-0111, ext. 2.

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