Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a PFA?
In Pennsylvania, it should be automatically written on the PFA order that the abuser cannot own or buy a gun while the order is in effect, but the judge can strike that provision, so it is important that you make it clear to the judge that the abuser’s weapons should be removed. Here are a few steps you can take to help make this clear:
- 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 write on the order that the defendant must give up all firearms that s/he has or owns as well as any that you listed on your petition.
- 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. The PFA order includes options as to what happens to the abuser’s guns, so you may also want to ask that the judge:
- Require the abuser to give his guns to the sheriff or police, or require the sheriff or 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.
- Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.1