I have a final protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
It depends. On most protective order forms in IA, there will be a firearm restriction that can be checked off by the judge. Under federal law, however, it does not matter whether or not the firearm restriction is checked off on your order - a person who has a protective order against him/her cannot have or buy a gun while the PO is in effect.1 In order for your PO to qualify under federal law, the respondent (person who the order is against) must:
- Be served (given) notice of the court hearing. In other words, the respondent must have been given paperwork that told him or her about the hearing;
- Have an opportunity to attend the court hearing; Note: The abuser does not have to be at the hearing, but s/he has to have the opportunity to come to the hearing.
- Be an "intimate partner" of the victim, which includes:
- A current or former spouse;
- A person with whom you share a child;
- A person you live with or have lived with in the past.2
Note: This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.3 If the abuser is a police officer, member of the military, or someone else who uses a gun for their job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options. See IA Advocates and Shelters to find a program in your area.
1 18 USC § 922(g)(8)
2 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
3 18 USC § 925(a)(1)