I have a temporary order against the abuser. Do I have to wait until I receive a final order before the abuser's gun is taken away?
It depends. In an ex parte temporary domestic violence protection order, the judge can order the abuser to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms if the judge believes that the abuser is likely to use, display or threaten to use the firearm in further acts of violence.1
Federal law may also prohibit the abuser from having a firearm while a temporary order is in effect but it’s not likely. If the judge gave you an ex parte temporary protection order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done, it could still be legal for him/her to have a gun under federal law. However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary protection order, it is possible that it is illegal for him/her to have a gun under federal law. The protective order must also meet certain other requirements, though. Read I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away? (in our Federal Gun Laws section) to find out more.
1 ND Statutes § 14-07.1-03(2)(d)
I have a domestic violence protection order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
It depends. In an ex parte temporary order and in a final domestic violence protection order, the judge can order the abuser to hand over any firearms in his/her possession to the authorities and forbid him/her from buying firearms if the judge believes that the abuser is likely to use, display or threaten to use the firearm in further acts of violence.1
In addition, if the abuser applies for a concealed weapons license in North Dakota, s/he should be denied if s/he has a final order of protection against him/her that meets the requirements under federal law.2
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
1 ND Statutes §§ 14-07.1-02(4)(g); 14-07.1-03(2)(d)
2 ND Statutes § 62.1-04-03(1)(c)(8)
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a domestic violence protection order?
Here are a few things that may help:
- 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 specifically write in your protection 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 protection order may have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section; and
- Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction 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 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.