If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Georgia law says that if a person has been convicted of any of the following crimes, s/he cannot have or buy a gun:
- has been convicted of a felony in any state or in another country; currently has felony charges pending against him/her (but hasn't yet been convicted) or is a fugitive from justice;
- has been convicted of an offense arising out of the unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug;
- has been convicted of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance (drugs) and within the past five years s/he also:
- has been in restraint or under supervision;
- gets a second conviction of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance; or
- is convicted for various weapons charges;
- has been convicted of carrying a weapon without the proper license or carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location (and within the past five years has been under restraint or supervision related to these crimes or has gotten any other conviction); or
- has been adjudicated (found by a judge) "mentally incompetent to stand trial" or "not guilty by reason of insanity” at the time that s/he committed a crime.1
Federal laws, which apply to all states, also restrict a person's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 GA ST § 16-11-129(b)(2)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.
Federal law specifically prohibits possession of a firearm if the person is convicted of any felony or of a domestic violence misdemeanor. Criminal records that would make a person ineligible to purchase a firearm are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.
To read more about the NICS, please see the question, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?