I have a final PFA order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
It depends. It may be possibe that your PFA order specifically says that the abuser cannot have a gun or buy a new gun as a provision of the order. If that is not the case, in order for your protection from abuse order 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
- A person you live with or have lived with in the past.*
If your PFA has expired, it is no longer a valid order under Federal law, which means the firearm ban also does not apply.
Note: This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.** 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 Places that Help to find a program in your area.
* 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
** 18 USC § 925(a)(1)