I have a Protective Order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
No. According to Federal law, if you have a protective order that was issued by a New Hampshire civil court against your abuser, s/he cannot have a gun in their possession, or buy a new gun.1
In order for your PO order to qualify under Federal law, the defendant (person who the PO is against) 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 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
- A person you live with or have lived with in the past
- Note: NH state law also allows you to get a protective order against a current or former dating partner, which means if you have a protective order against a current or former dating partner, the firearm ban will still apply under NH state law.2
If your PO order has expired, it is no longer a valid order under Federal law, which means the firearm ban also does not apply.
This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.3 If your abuser is a police officer, member of the military, or someone else who uses a gun for their job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options. To find a local program please visit NH Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.
Note: If your abuser violates the protective order in any way, NH state law says that the police must take any guns or ammunition that your abuser has or uses while violating the protective order.4 Remember that having a gun while being subject to a protective order is a violation in itself.
1 18 USC § 922(g)(8)
2 N.H. Rev. ST. 173-B:1(X)
3 18 USC Sec. 925 (a)(1)
4 N.H. Rev. Stat. Section 173-B:9(b)