If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Iowa state law says that a person cannot get a firearms permit, and therefore, cannot have a gun, if s/he is:
- under the age of 18 and seeking a professional firearms permit;
- under the age of 21 and seeking a nonprofessional firearms permit;
- addicted to alcohol;
- likely to use a weapon illegally or in a way that would endanger him/herself or other, which must be based on documented evidence within the two years before applying for a firearms permit;
- subject to the firearm possession, receipt, transportation or control prohibitions of Iowa law;
- convicted of a felony;
- convicted of any serious or aggravated misdemeanor defined in chapter 708 of the Iowa Code, such as assault, stalking, harassment, within the previous three years that does not involve the use of a firearm or explosive;
- prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm;1 or
- subject to a permanent domestic violence protective order.2
If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 IA ST § 724.8
2 IA ST § 236.5(1)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Criminal 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.
Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records 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?