I have an order for protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?
Under Indiana law, a judge can include in a final order for protection that the abuser cannot use or have a firearm or ammunition. The order can also require that the abuser surrender to law enforcement any firearms or ammunition that s/he has while the order is in effect.1
Usually your order for protection will only be valid for two years, unless ordered otherwise by the court.2 You should be aware of the order’s expiration date so that you can extend the order before it ends if you need to. See How do I change or extend an order for protection? for more information. Usually you will need to show evidence that you still need the order for protection.
Federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 IC § 34-26-5-9(d)(4)
2 IC § 34-26-5-9(f)
I have a temporary order for protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?
As part of an order for protection case, a judge can order anything else that is necessary to keep you and any family or household member in the order safe.1 It is possible that a judge could include gun restrictions based on this language. So, if this is ordered in your temporary protection order, the abuser cannot legally have a gun.1
However, if there is no specific mention of a firearm restriction in the temporary protection order, then it may still be legal for the abuser to have a gun under Indiana state law.
1 IC § 34-26-5-9(c)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get an order for protection?
Indiana state law does not specifically say that anyone who has an order for protection against him/her cannot own or buy a gun but the judge can specifically order this as part of your order for protection. In addition, the order for protection form should automatically say that the abuser cannot have or buy a gun due to federal law.1
To try to make it clear that the abuser cannot have a gun, here are a couple things you may want to ask for in court:
- If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s).
- Ask the judge to write in the county sheriff’s office where the abuser has to surrender his/her guns. Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that this is included on your order for protection.
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. Therefore, you may also want to ask the judge:
- if it can be written in the order that the police to go to the abuser’s house and get the guns;
- to make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
- to order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.
1 IC § 34-26-5-3(c)