I have a protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
There is nothing specific in Mississippi's laws that would make it illegal for a person who has a protective order against him/her to possess a firearm. The law does not specifically authorize a judge in a protective order case to order the abuser's firearms to be surrendered.1 In addition, having a protective order against you would not disqualify you from qualifying for a license to carry a concealed handgun.2
However, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person's right to have a gun under certain circumstances, including when there is an order of protection that was issued after notice to the abuser and a hearing. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 See MS Code § 93-21-15(1)(a) & (2)(a)
2 See MS Code § 45-9-101(2)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protective order?
Although Mississippi law doesn't specifically authorize a judge to remove the abuser's firearms in a protective order, the law does say that the judge is "not limited to" only the protections that are listed in the law.1 Depending on the judge in your case, perhaps there may be some things you can do to increase the chances that the judge might interpret the law to mean that the abuser can be ordered to have his/her firearms is taken away but it is not likely. Keep in mind these tips may or may not result in the outcome that you are hoping for. Every judge is different. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:
- If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever shown you the guns or displayed them as a way to intimidate you and maintain control over you.
- Ask the judge to specifically write in your protective order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for a protective order will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section.
- 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 protection 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.
- If the gun restriction is granted, check to make sure that it is written on your order before leaving the courthouse.
1 See Miss. Code Ann. § 93-21-15(2)(a)