Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a PFA order?
While it does not need to be written on your protection from abuse 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 PFA order that his/her gun(s) be taken away and held while your PFA is in effect. 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 PFA 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 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/her 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.1
There is not a guarantee that the judge will do any of the things that you ask for since it often depends on the judge and the way that things are done in your county.
1 Americans for Gun Safety; “Domestic Violence and Guns: A Guide to Laws that can Remove Guns from a Domestic Abuser”