I have a relief from abuse order (RFA) against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?
Vermont state law does not automatically make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun if there is a relief from abuse order issued against him/her. However, a judge does have the option of including a firearm restriction in a protection order because the law allows a judge to include anything that is necessary to protect the victim of abuse and his/her children.1 Other court cases (“case law”) in Vermont confirm that this “catch all” provision can be used for gun restrictions.2 If the judge includes gun restrictions in your temporary or final protection order, then it may be unlawful for the abuser to have or buy a gun.
In addition, federal law, which applies to all states, makes it illegal to have a firearm when a final order of protection is in place. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 14 VT ST T. § 1103(c)(1)
2Benson v. Muscari, 769 A.2d 1291 (Vt. 2001)