I do not have a protective order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of any crime. Can s/he have a gun?
There are very few laws in Mississippi that restrict a person’s right to have a firearm other than being convicted of a felony. Therefore, the abuser may still be able to possess a firearm under Mississippi state law. However, federal laws, which apply to all states would make it illegal for the abuser to possess a firearm if s/he:
- is a fugitive from justice (fled any state to avoid being prosecuted or to avoid testifying in any criminal proceeding);
- is an unlawful user of or addicted to drugs (controlled substances) - but this does not include alcohol or tobacco;
- has been declared by a judge to be mentally incompetent or was committed to a mental institution against their will; who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity; or has undergone some other court proceeding about their mental illness;1
- is an immigrant who is illegally or unlawfully present in the U.S.;
- has been dishonorably discharged from the military; or
- has given up (renounced) her/his citizenship to the U.S.2
In addition, under Mississippi state law, it’s possible that even if you do not have a protective order and the abuser has not been convicted of any crime, s/he may be denied a license to carry a concealed handgun (and stun gun) if:
- s/he is not a resident of the state (but this requirement can be waived in certain situations);
- s/he is under 21 years old (but there is an exception for someone who is 18 or older and is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces);
- s/he suffers from a physical condition that would prevent the safe handling of a firearm;
- s/he has had an adjudication of guilt withheld or has had a suspended sentence on any felony (unless it has been more than three years since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
- s/he is a fugitive from justice;
- s/he regularly abuses controlled substances (drugs) or alcohol to the point that his/her normal functioning is harmed;
- s/he has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a:
- treatment facility for the abuse of a controlled substance or been found guilty of a drug-related crime within the preceding three-year period; or
- treatment facility as an alcoholic or has been convicted of two or more offenses related to the use of alcohol within the preceding three-year period;
- mental institution or mental health treatment facility (unless s/he has a psychiatrist verify that s/he has not suffered from the disability for a period of 5 years); and
- s/he has been found to be “mentally incompetent” by a court.3
Even if none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Tips page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the MS Advocates and Shelters page.
For additional information on gun laws in Mississippi, you can go to the Giffords Law Center.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 27 C.F.R. § 478.11
2 18 USC § 922(g)(2)-(7)
3 MS Code § 45-9-101(2)