If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Under Louisiana state law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of any of the following crimes to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon as long as the person was represented by a criminal defense lawyer during the criminal case or s/he gave up (waived) the right to have a lawyer:
- domestic abuse battery
- battery of a dating partner when the offense involves strangulation;
- battery of a dating partner when the offense involves burning; or
- a second (or third, fourth, etc.) offense of battery of a dating partner.1
In addition, anyone who was convicted of or found “not guilty by reason of insanity” of any of the following crimes cannot possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon 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:
- a “crime of violence” which is a felony;
- various burglary crimes (for a complete list, go to our Selected Louisiana Statutes page);
- manufacture or possession of a bomb or other incendiary device;
- possession of a firearm while possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance;
- felony illegal use of weapons;
- any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (LA R.S. 40.961 et seq.) that is a felony;
- any crime defined as a sex offense; or
- an attempt to commit any of these above-listed offenses.2
Lastly, there are additional crime-related reasons why a person would not qualify for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Under Louisiana law, in order to qualify for a concealed handgun permit, the person must:
- not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a drug-related misdemeanor within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted;
- not presently be charged under indictment or a “bill of information” for a drug-related misdemeanor;
- not have been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the past five years prior to the date the application is submitted or at any time after the application is submitted;
- not been found guilty of (or entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) a misdemeanor “crime of violence” (unless five years have passed since completion of the sentence or since any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
- not have been convicted of (or have entered a plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” to) any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
- not be charged under indictment or a bill of information for any crime of violence or any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or greater (usually, a felony);
- not be a fugitive from justice;
- not have a history of engaging in violent behavior; Note: If within a ten-year period immediately before the date of the application, there is proof that either of the following are true, it will be assumed that the person has a “history of engaging in violent behavior”:
- the applicant was arrested or charged on three or more occasions for any “crime of violence;” or
- the applicant was arrested or charged on two or more occasions for any crime of violence that may be punished by death;
- not be ineligible to possess or receive a firearm under federal law (see The abuser has a gun. Is that legal? in our Federal Gun Laws section for more information).3
1 LA R.S. 14:95.10(A), (C)
2 LA R.S. 14:95.1(A), (C)
3 LA R.S. 40:1379.3(C)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
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 What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?