I have an order for protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?
If you have a final order for protection against the abuser, Minnesota law states that a judge must order the abuser not to possess firearms for the time that the order is in effect, if the order:
- instructs the abuser not to harass, stalk, or threaten you, or engage in other conduct that would place you in reasonable fear of bodily injury; and
- includes a finding, in the judge’s determination, that the abuser represents a credible threat to your physical safety or prohibits the abuser party from using, attempting to use, or threatening to use physical force against you.1
In addition, your order should automatically contain a notice of the federal firearms prohibition.2 You can learn more about federal firearms restrictions in our Federal Gun Laws section.
1 MN Statutes § 518B.01(6)(g)
2 MN Statutes § 518B.01(18)(a)(4)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get an order for protection?
While it does not need to be written on your order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun in order for the federal law to be enforced, it may make it easier if it is written.
Here are a few things that you may be able to ask for to try to make the firearm prohibition clearer:
- If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s).
- Ask the judge to write into the order for protection that the defendant cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect.
- Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that this 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. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the 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; and
Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.