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Legal Information: Louisiana

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of November 21, 2023

If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

A judge must order that a person transfer all of his/her firearms to the sheriff within 48 hours and the judge will suspend his/her concealed handgun permit in any of the following situations:

  1. the person has a long-term protective order issued against him/her based on domestic abuse, dating violence, or stalking;1
  2. the person is convicted of any of the following crimes:

Once the sheriff gets the firearms, the sheriff can:

  • allow a third party who does not live with the defendant to hold the firearms;
  • accept and store the firearms, possibly in a storage facility; or
  • oversee the legal sale of the firearms to a third party, such as a licensed firearms dealer.3

If there comes a time when the defendant is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, such as when the protective order expires, s/he can file a motion with the court seeking an order for the return of the firearms.4

1 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1002(A)(2), (D)(1)
2 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1002(A)(1), (D)(1)
3 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1003(A)
4 LA C.Cr.P. Art. 1003(D)(1)

Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police. If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our LA Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in Louisiana on the ATF website. For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867). Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer.

A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our LA Advocates and Shelters page.

Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law. If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.1

1United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

What is the penalty for violating state firearm laws?

If someone has a long-term protective order against him/her and s/he still possesses a firearm, attempts to purchase a firearm, or carries a concealed handgun while that order is in effect, s/he can be punished by up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The length of the possible jail time and the amount of the possible fine depends on whether or not it is the person’s first conviction, whether battery or another crime of violence was involved, and other factors.1 You can read the details in section 14:79(subsection B) of the law.

If someone has been convicted of any of the following crimes and s/he still possesses a firearm or carries a concealed handgun, s/he can be punished by between one to 20 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 to $5,000:2

  1. domestic abuse battery;
  2. battery of a dating partner when the offense involves strangulation;
  3. battery of a dating partner when the offense involves burning;
  4. a second, third, fourth, etc., offense of battery of a dating partner;3
  5. a “crime of violence” that is a felony;
  6. various burglary crimes – for a complete list, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page;
  7. manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
  8. possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
  9. felony illegal use of weapons;
  10. any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law that is a felony;
  11. any crime defined as a sex offense; or
  12. an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.4

Note: For the crimes listed in numbers 1 - 4, the defendant must have been represented by a lawyer during the original criminal case or given up the right to a lawyer. For the crimes listed in numbers 5 - 12, it is only illegal to possess a firearm or carry a concealed handgun for a period of ten years from the date of completing the sentence, probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or discharge from a mental institution by a court.4

1 LA R.S. 46:2136.3(C); 14:79(A)(4), (B)
2 LA R.S. 14:95.1(C); 14:95.10(B)
3 LA R.S. 14:95.10(A), (C)
4 LA R.S. 14:95.1(A), (C)

What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Before purchasing a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is used by federal firearms licensees (FFLs), such as firearms dealers or pawnbrokers, to instantly determine whether someone is eligible to receive (own, possess, transport) firearms or explosives.1 If the abuser has a qualifying protection order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in any state, those records should be in the NICS, which should prevent the abuser from legally buying a gun. Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system. Also, it is important to know that background checks are not required for private and online gun sales and so in those situations, the seller is not looking in the NICS.

If the abuser is able to purchase a gun and you believe that s/he should not be able to have one under the law, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away and perhaps the police will investigate. Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one.

1National Criminal Justice Reference Service website