I have a protection order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
Possibly not. Nebraska state law allows the judge to order that the abuser cannot possess or purchase firearms as a term in your actual protection order.1
Also, under federal law, if you have a qualifying protection order, it can be illegal for the abuser to have a gun in his/her possession even if this is not written into the terms of your protection order. In order for your protection order to qualify under federal law, the defendant must:
- Be served (given) notice of the court hearing. In other words, the defendant must have been given paperwork that told him or her about the hearing.
- Have an opportunity to attend the court hearing. Note: The abuser does not have to actually be at the hearing, but s/he has to have the opportunity to come to the hearing.
- Be an “intimate partner” of the victim, which includes:
- A current or former spouse;
- A person with whom you share a child; or
- A person you live with or have lived with in the past.2
If your protection order has expired, it is no longer a valid order under federal law, which means the firearm ban also does not apply. Your protection order probably says in the second paragraph that your order, unless modified, is good for one year from the date of issue, which should be written on the bottom of page one of your order.
Note: This federal law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.3 If the abuser is a police officer, member of the military, or someone else who uses a gun for his/her job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the NE Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
1 NE R.S. § 42-925(1)
2 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
3 18 USC § 925(a)(1)