I have an order for protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?
Under federal law, if you have a qualifying order for protection against the abuser, s/he cannot have a gun in his/her possession during the term of the order. In order for your order for protection to qualify under federal law, the defendant (person who the order is against) must:
- Be served (given) notice of the court hearing. (In other words, the defendant 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; or
- A person you live with or have lived within the past.1
Usually your order for protection will only be valid for no more than 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 (if need be) before it ends. 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.
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 his/her job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options. See our Places that Help page to find a program in your area.
1 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(32)
2 IC § 34-26-5-9(e)
4 18 U.S.C. § 925(a)(1)