I have a temporary ex parte protective order against the abuser. Can the abuser have a gun?
An abuser may be able to have a gun while a temporary ex parte protective order is in place since the law only denies a firearm permit to someone if there is a permanent domestic violence protective order in place.1 However, temporary orders must specifically include a notice that the abuser may be required to give up all firearms, offensive weapons, and ammunition if a permanent order is issued.2
1See IA ST § 236.5(1)(b)(02)
2 IA ST § 236.4(2)
I have a final protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
In a permanent order, the judge can order the abuser to not have any firearms, weapons, and ammunition in his/her possession.1
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person’s right to have a gun under certain circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 IA ST § 236.5(1)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protective order?
While it does not need to be written on your protective order that the abuser cannot buy or have a gun in order for the federal law to be enforced, it may make it easier if it is written. There are a couple steps you can take to try to help make this clear:
- If the abuser has a gun, be sure to make a request on your petition for a protective order that his/her gun(s) be taken away and held while your protective order is in effect. You can write this request under the “Other” section of what you ask the judge to do. You may also want to write how many guns the abuser has and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s).
- Ask the judge to specifically write in your protective order that the abuser cannot buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. There will most likely be a box that the judge can check off.
- Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction is written (or checked) on your order. It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser’s guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse, and a time frame in which the guns must be turned over. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his guns while the protective order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:
- require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser’s house and get them;
- make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser;
- order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.