If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Kansas state law says that is illegal the following criminals to own or possess a gun:
- someone who, within the past five years, has been convicted of a misdemeanor for a domestic violence offense in Kansas or a similar misdemeanor crime in another state;
- someone who is a fugitive from justice, which means that the person knows that there is a warrant issued to get (apprehend) him/her for committing a felony;1
- a person who has been convicted of a “person felony,” which are various drug crimes (listed in sections K.S.A. 21-36a01 through 21-36a17 of the law); or convicted of any violation of the uniform controlled substances act prior to July 1, 2009,
- someone who was a “juvenile offender” of an act which comes under the “person felony” crimes or uniform controlled substances act prior to July 1, 2009, AND was in possession of a firearm when s/he committed the crime; or
- someone who was convicted of certain felonies within the past 5 or 10 years, or has been released from imprisonment for a felony; or someone who was a juvenile offender for these felonies AND had a gun at the time of the crime.2
1 Kan. Stat. § 21-6301(a)(15), (a)(18), (m)(2)
2 Kan. Stat. § 21-6304(a)
What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?
A crime is considered a domestic violence misdemeanor under Federal law if it:
- Can be defined as a misdemeanor under federal or state law;
- Involves physical violence or force, or includes threats made with a deadly weapon; and
- Was committed by:
- a current or former spouse;
- a parent or guardian of the victim;
- a person with whom the victim shares a child;
- a person living with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian; OR
- a person who has a similar relationship (listed above) with a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.1
Note: The crime does not have to specifically mention “domestic violence” in order for it to be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor, and for the federal firearm law to apply.2 The relationship that the victim has with the offender is what determines whether or not the misdemeanor is a “domestic violence” misdemeanor. 3
For example: If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his wife, he may no longer have or buy a gun. If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his neighbor, he may still be able to have or buy a gun.
If you’re not sure if a certain crime counts as a domestic violence misdemeanor, you can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
118 USC § 921(a)(33)(A)
2United States v. Kavoukian, 315 F. 3d 139 (2d. Cir. 2002); United States v. Meade, 175 F.3d 215 (1st Cir. 1999)
3United States v. Denis, 297 F.3d.25 (1st Cir. 2002.); United States v. Costigan, No. 009-B0H, 2000 U.S. Dist. (D. Me. June 16, 2000)
What is the definition of a felony?
A felony under federal law is a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.1 A felony under KS state law is a crime punishable by death or by imprisonment in any state correctional institution or a crime which is defined as a felony by law.2Note: You can’t always tell if a person was convicted of a felony just by looking at the prison sentence that s/he received since prison terms are often plea-bargained down or a person may be released early from prison for various reasons.
1 18 USC § 3559
2 Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5102(a)
If a law enforcement officer or other government employee is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, can s/he have or buy a gun?
No. Law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony cannot have or buy guns for any purpose, including their official duties, according to federal law. 1
1 18 USC § 925(a)(1)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor?
Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony 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?