If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
In Montana, a person cannot have a firearm if s/he has been convicted of:
- a felony for which s/he received an additional sentence for use of a dangerous weapon under Montana Code § 46-18-221 or a similar law in another state; or
- a felony for which the person is currently required to register for the sexual or violent offender registry.1
In addition, if someone is convicted of partner or family member assault, the judge could prohibit the defendant from having or using the specific firearm used in the assault.2
If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 Mont. Code § 45-8-313(1)
2 Mont. Code § 45-5-206(7)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Criminal 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 the question What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?