Can the abuser have a gun?
Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession while the order is in effect. According to Hawaii’s laws, there will be a specific statement in the order that makes possession of a firearm (and ammunition) illegal as long as the order prohibits the abuser from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing anyone named in the order.1 However, it’s possible that the abuser can convince the judge that there is “good cause” to allow the abuser to keep his/her guns. If this happens, the judge will specifically include a statement in the order that says firearm possession is allowed.1
Firearm possession can be prohibited as part of an ex parte order if, from your allegations in the affidavit, the judge believes that:
- the abuser owns, has, or intends to get a firearm; and
- the firearm may be used to threaten, injure, or abuse you or someone else.1
When law enforcement serves the order upon the abuser, the police officer can take custody of any and all firearms and ammunition that:
- the officer sees (in “plain sight”);
- are discovered through a search to which the abuser consents; and
- the abuser voluntarily gives to the police officer.1
If the abuser is the registered owner of a firearm but refuses to give it to the police, s/he will be guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, when a police officer is unable to locate the firearms and ammunition, the police officer is supposed to apply to the court for a search warrant to get permission to take (seize) the firearms and ammunition.1
You can find more information about gun laws by:
- going to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
- reading our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.
You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.
1 HRS § 134-7(f)