I have a protection order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
It depends. If your protection order specifically says that your abuser cannot have a gun or buy a new gun, then s/he cannot have a gun. Box #11 should be checked on your civil protection order form. However, whether or not Box #11 is checked on your CPO form, your abuser may not be able to have a gun or buy a gun under federal law. In order for your protection order to qualify under federal law, the defendant (person who the order 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 and
- 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.*
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.
Note: This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.** 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. See OH Places that Help to find a program in your area.
* 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
** 18 USC § 925(a)(1)