Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to end in death than assaults with other weapons or physical harm. The numbers speak for themselves—to save lives, it is essential that federal and state gun laws keep deadly weapons out of domestic abusers’ hands.

Background

Domestic abusers with guns pose a severe and deadly threat to their intimate partners.1 Domestic violence assaults involving a gun are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force.2 Research has repeatedly shown that domestic abusers with guns inflict a disproportionate amount of lethal violence on their spouses and partners:

  • Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.3
  • Women in the United States are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than in peer countries.4
  • Of the 1,352 intimate partner homicides in 2015, 55% were committed with firearms.5
  • More than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1980 and 2008 were killed with firearms.6
  • In 2011, nearly two-thirds of women killed with guns were killed by their intimate partners.7

Domestic Violence Fuels Mass Shootings and Assaults

Domestic violence also fuels mass shootings, defined as a shooting in which four or more people are murdered. A study by Everytown for Gun Safety of every identifiable mass shooting between January 2009 and July 2014 found that 57% of them involved the killing of a family member, or a current or former intimate partner of the shooter.8

The role of guns in domestic assaults is not limited to homicides. A 2004 survey of female domestic violence shelter residents in California found that more than one third (36.7%) reported having been threatened or harmed with a firearm.9 In nearly two thirds (64.5%) of cases in which a gun was present in a household shared by a domestic abuser and victim, the abuser had used the firearm against the victim, usually threatening to shoot or kill her.10

Gaps in Federal Law Leave Abused Victims Vulnerable

As described below, federal law prohibits abusers who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and abusers subject to certain domestic violence protective orders from purchasing or possessing guns.11 The federal laws intended to prevent access to firearms by domestic abusers have significant limitations, however, leading many states to adopt broader laws that address these problems. These dangerous gaps in federal law are listed below.

  • The federal laws do not apply to many abusers who victimize non-spouse partners. Domestic violence affects people in family or intimate relationships that fall outside the protections of federal law. For example, dating partners are not within the federal prohibitions unless the partners have cohabitated as spouses or have a child in common. The risk of domestic violence being committed by a dating partner is well documented. In 2008, individuals killed by current dating partners made up almost half of all spouse and current dating partner homicides.12 A study of applicants for domestic violence restraining orders in Los Angeles found that the most common relationship between the victim and abuser was a dating relationship.13
  • The federal laws do not apply to abusers who victimize a family member other than a partner or child. The current federal prohibitions also do not address violence against family members other than a child or intimate partner. They therefore do not address violence against someone like an abused sibling or parent. According to data from the US Department of Justice, the proportion of family homicides that involve a murdered parent has been increasing, rising steadily from 9.7% of all family homicides in 1980 to 13% in 2008.14
  • The federal laws do not apply to convicted stalkers and others subject to a protective order. Similar loopholes in federal law allow access to guns by convicted stalkers15 and abusers subject to domestic violence protective orders that cover the period before a hearing (known as “ex parte” orders).16
  • The federal laws fail to require domestic abusers to surrender their firearms. Federal law does not require domestic abusers to turn in their firearms once they are convicted of a crime of domestic violence or become subject to a restraining order. As a result, abusers continue to commit crimes with guns they are prohibited from owning under federal law. In 2011, more than 50 people in Washington State were arrested on gun charges while subject to protective orders.17
  • The federal laws are weakened because not all states report all prohibited abusers. In order for background checks to prevent abusers from obtaining guns, states must report abusers who fall within prohibited categories to the proper databases. Identifying the abusers to be reported involves a series of complex legal issues that many states have not yet addressed.18 As a result, many states do not comprehensively enter domestic violence protective order and offender information into the proper databases.
  • The federal laws are weakened by ineffectual federal background check laws. Federal law does not require a background check to be performed before every sale of a gun, including sales by unlicensed, private sellers. The private sale loophole enables many domestic abusers to illegally obtain the firearms they use against their victims. In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.19 For more information about background check requirements, see our summary on Universal Background Checks.

The Public Supports Laws to Close Federal Loopholes

State laws that close dangerous loopholes in federal law, and comprehensively restrict access to firearms by a person subject to a domestic violence restraining order, are associated with a significant reduction in the number of intimate partner homicides. One study found that such laws are associated with a 19% reduction in the risk of intimate partner homicides.20

Policies that comprehensively protect victims of domestic violence also enjoy tremendous public support. A 2006 survey of Californians found that 70% of men and 84% of women want firearms taken away from domestic violence perpetrators.21 Similarly, a 2013 national poll found that 80.8% of people surveyed, including 75.6% of gun owners, support prohibiting gun ownership for 10 years after a person has been convicted of violating a domestic violence restraining order, while 73.7% of gun owners and 72.4% of non-gun owners support prohibiting gun ownership for 10 years after a person is convicted of domestic violence.22

Summary of Federal Law

Federal law prohibits purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by people who have been convicted in any court of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” and/or who are subject to certain domestic violence protective orders.23

The Lautenberg Amendment

The Lautenberg Amendment prohibits people convicted of certain domestic violence crimes from buying or owning guns. The federal prohibition that applies to domestic violence misdemeanants was adopted in 1996 and is commonly known as the “Lautenberg Amendment” after its sponsor, the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). It defines a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” as an offense that is a federal, state, or tribal law misdemeanor and has the use or attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon as an element.24 In addition, the offender must fit one of the following criteria:

  • Be a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.
  • Share a child in common with the victim.
  • Be a current or former cohabitant with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian.
  • Be similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.25

A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence represents the third-most frequent reason for denial of an application to purchase a firearm by the FBI, after a felony conviction and an outstanding arrest warrant.26 Between November 30, 1998 and July 31, 2014, over 109,000 people convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence were denied purchase of a firearm because of the Lautenberg Amendment.27

Protective Orders and Prohibited Purchasers

Federal law also prohibits some abusers who are subject to protective orders from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition. The prohibition applies only if the protective order was issued after notice to the abuser and a hearing, and only if the order protects an “intimate partner” of the abuser or a child of the abuser or intimate partner.28 An “intimate partner” includes a current or former spouse, a parent of a child in common with the abuser, or an individual with whom the abuser does or has cohabitated.29 Between November 30, 1998 and July 31, 2014, over 46,000 people subject to domestic violence protective orders were denied purchase of a firearm because of this prohibition.30 Research indicates that this prohibition also deters people subject to active protective orders from applying to buy a firearm.31

Notification to Domestic Violence Offenders

The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (the “2005 VAWA”) required states and local governments, as a condition of certain funding, to certify that their judicial administrative policies and practices included notification to domestic violence offenders of both of the federal firearm prohibitions mentioned above and any applicable related federal, state, or local laws.32 The 2005 VAWA did not, however, require states or local governments to establish a procedure for the surrender of firearms by abusers.

Summary of State Law

Many states have adopted laws that fill gaps in federal law by more comprehensively restricting access to firearms and ammunition by domestic abusers.

States That Restrict Access to Guns by Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

States have closed the gaps in federal law pertaining to abusers who commit misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence by enacting laws that:

  • Prohibit domestic violence misdemeanants not covered by federal law from buying or possessing guns and/or ammunition.
  • Authorize or require surrender of guns and/or ammunition after conviction of a domestic violence misdemeanor.
  • Require reporting domestic violence offender identities to databases used for firearm purchaser background checks.

Prohibiting Domestic Violence Misdemeanants from Buying or Possessing Firearms or Ammunition

As noted above33, federal law prohibits purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” but defines that term narrowly.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia also prohibit purchase or possession of firearms or ammunition by at least some people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses:34

Alabama35
California36
Colorado37
Connecticut38
Delaware39
District of Columbia40
Hawaii41
Illinois42
Indiana43
Iowa44
Kansas45
Louisiana46
Massachusetts47
Maine48
Maryland49
Minnesota50
Nebraska51
Nevada52
New Jersey53
New York54
Oregon55
Pennsylvania56
Rhode Island57
South Carolina58
South Dakota59
Tennessee60
Texas61
Utah62
Washington63
West Virginia64

Some of these laws may exceed federal law in various ways, including by broadening the definition of “domestic violence.” For instance, some include in their definitions of domestic violence a violent misdemeanor against: a former or current dating partner of the offender, someone with whom the offender has had a romantic relationship, or any present or former household member or cohabitant of the offender. Other laws include in their definitions of domestic violence a violent misdemeanor against any family member, regardless of whether the victim resides with the offender.65

The strongest laws prohibit the purchase or possession of firearms by individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors generally, regardless of the victim’s relationship to the offender. California, for example, prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms or ammunition by anyone convicted of assault, battery, or stalking without regard to the victim’s relationship to the offender.66 Connecticut, Hawaii, and New York also use this approach. For more information about these laws, see our summary on Categories of Prohibited People.

States That Authorize or Require Surrender of Firearms and/or Ammunition After Conviction of a Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

Fifteen states that prohibit domestic violence misdemeanants from possessing guns also authorize or require surrender of guns and/or ammunition after conviction of a domestic violence misdemeanor. Of these fifteen, five require the surrender of firearms by every individual who has become ineligible to possess them: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, and Pennsylvania. For a description of these laws, see “Disarming Prohibited Possessors,” in our summary on Categories of Prohibited People. A sixth state, Nevada, requires surrender of firearms by every individual who is convicted of a crime that makes them prohibited from possessing firearms, including domestic violence misdemeanors.67 In addition to these states, Colorado,68 Illinois,69 Iowa,70 Massachusetts,71 Minnesota,72 New Jersey,73 Rhode Island,74 and Tennessee75 specifically require surrender of firearms when a person is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or specified domestic violence offenses. In Iowa, for example, a state court that enters a judgment of conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor and finds that the subject of the order or conviction is in possession of any firearm or ammunition must order the firearm or ammunition to be sold or transferred by a specific date to the custody of a qualified person in this state, as determined by the court.76 The fifteenth state, Louisiana, requires courts to order the surrender of firearms after specified domestic violence offenses, but not all such offenses.77

States That Require Reporting of Domestic Violence Offender Identities to the NICS Databases

Four states have recently enacted laws designed to facilitate the reporting of abusers whose crimes fall within the federal definition of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to the databases used for firearm purchaser background checks. In 2011, New York enacted a law establishing a procedure to be used in trials for certain violent misdemeanors to determine whether the crime qualifies as domestic violence under the federal definition of that term. If the crime is found to fall within the definition, the clerk of the court must send a written a report to a state agency, who then reports the determination to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).78 Illinois79 and Minnesota80 have similar laws. Massachusetts requires courts to transmit records of certain domestic violence offenses to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services for inclusion in NICS.81

States That Restrict Access to Guns by Abusers Subject to Protective Orders

States have closed the gaps in federal law pertaining to abusers who are subject to domestic violence protective orders by enacting laws that:

  • Authorize or require courts to prohibit abusers subject to protective orders from buying or possessing firearms.
  • Authorize or require removal or surrender of firearms when a protective order is issued.

States that Prohibit Subjects of Domestic Violence Protective Orders From Buying or Possessing Firearms

The strongest laws prohibit anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order from purchasing or possessing firearms. Some states, however, only authorize courts to prohibit gun purchase and possession by domestic abusers, and some apply the prohibitions to some but not all types of protective orders.82

States that prohibit subjects of domestic violence orders issued after notice and a hearing from purchasing or possessing firearms:

Alabama83
California84
Colorado85
Connecticut86
Delaware87
District of Columbia88
Florida89
Hawaii90
Illinois91
Iowa92
Kansas93
Louisiana94
Maine95
Maryland96
Massachusetts97
Minnesota98
New Hampshire99
New Jersey100
New York101
North Carolina102
Oregon103
Rhode Island104
Tennessee105
Texas106
Utah107
Virginia108
Washington109
West Virginia110
Wisconsin111

States that prohibit subjects of domestic violence orders issued after notice and a hearing from purchasing or possessing firearms only when certain conditions are met:

Alaska112
Arizona113
Indiana114
Michigan115
Montana116
Nebraska117
Nevada118
North Dakota119
Ohio120
Pennsylvania121
South Carolina122
South Dakota123
Vermont124

Domestic Violence protective orders can be issued after notice and a hearing, or they can be issued in emergency circumstances without notice to the abuser (ex parte). Ex parte orders are temporary and must be followed by a hearing for which the respondent receives notice and an opportunity to appear. Many states require or authorize courts to prohibit the possession or purchase of firearms by people subject to ex parte orders.

States that prohibit the possession or purchase of firearms by all people subject to ex parte orders:

California125
Colorado126
Connecticut127
Hawaii128
Illinois129
Massachusetts130
New Jersey131
New York132 (subject to conditions)
North Carolina133 (Subject to conditions)
West Virginia134

States that prohibit the possession or purchase of firearms by people subject to ex parte orders only under certain circumstances:

Arizona135
Maine136
Michigan137
Montana138
Nebraska139
New Hampshire140
North Dakota141
Pennsylvania142
South Dakota143
Texas144

Some states broaden who may seek a protective order.145 Many states exceed federal law by including a broader category of domestic violence victims who may apply for a protective order prohibiting firearms. About half the states exceed federal law by allowing victims to seek a protective order prohibiting purchase or possession of firearms by: a former or current dating partner or anyone with whom the victim has had a romantic relationship, any person who is presently or has in the past resided with the victim, and/or any family member.

Some states include ammunition. A small number of states also prohibit subjects of domestic violence protective orders from purchasing or possessing ammunition.

In California, for example, a person subject to any one of the following types of court orders is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition:

  • A domestic violence protective order whether issued ex parte, after notice and hearing, or in a judgment.
  • A temporary restraining order issued to a victim of harassment.
  • A temporary restraining order issued to an employer on behalf of an employee.
  • A temporary restraining order issued to a postsecondary educational institution on behalf of a student.
  • A protective order for an elderly or dependent adult who has suffered abuse, provided the abuse was not solely financial;
  • An emergency protective order related to stalking.
  • A protective order relating to a crime of domestic violence or the intimidation or dissuasion of victim or witness.146

Under California law, individuals may seek a domestic violence protective order, prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms, against:

  • A former or current dating partner or any person with whom the individual has had a romantic relationship.
  • Any person who is presently or has in the past resided with the individual.
  • Any family member, even if the abuser has never resided with the individual.147

States That Authorize or Require Removal or Surrender of Firearms When a Protective Order Is Issued

To ensure that firearms are taken from the homes of domestic abusers,148 28 states have laws that facilitate the surrender of firearms and/or ammunition by abusers when they become subject to protective orders. About half of these states specify to whom an abuser must surrender his or her weapons for safekeeping during the term of a protective order. Most specify that abusers must surrender their firearms to law enforcement,149 while other states permit the abuser to surrender his or her firearms to other designated third parties.150 The strongest state laws, such as the one passed by New Jersey in 2017,151 require police officers to remove firearms after a protective order is issued, while weaker laws authorize (but do not require) judges issuing protective orders to mandate that the abuser surrender firearms.

The following states directly authorize or require police officers to remove firearms and/or ammunition from abusers subject to domestic violence protective orders:

Massachusetts152
Hawaii153
New Jersey154
Illinois155

Massachusetts, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Jersey, as well as the below states, authorize or require a court that is issuing a domestic violence protective order to require the abuser to surrender firearms.156

Some of these states also authorize or require firearm surrender provisions in certain ex parte domestic violence protective orders, and some also authorize or require orders requiring the surrender of ammunition.

California
Colorado
Connecticut
Iowa
Louisiana
Maryland
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Washington
Wisconsin

Eight states in this category (California, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) require subjects of domestic violence protective orders to surrender all firearms in his or her possession, regardless of the circumstances leading to the order. California’s law authorizes the court to issue a search warrant if the abuser fails to relinquish firearms he or she possesses.

In other states, domestic violence protective orders must direct the abuser to surrender firearms if certain conditions are met. In New York, for example, a court issuing a protective order (including an ex parte order) must order the immediate surrender of all firearms owned or possessed by an abuser if the court finds a substantial risk that the abuser may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the victim, and in other specified situations.157

In addition, the following states authorize (but do not require) courts to issue protective orders that direct the abuser to surrender certain firearms in his or her possession in various circumstances:158

Alaska
Arizona
Delaware
Florida
Indiana
Nevada
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Vermont159

States that Have Closed the “Boyfriend Loophole”

As discussed above, domestic violence does not occur solely between spouses. Abusers often victimize their dating partners. In what’s known as the “boyfriend loophole,” federal law does not prohibit people from purchasing or possessing guns if in a dating relationship and subject to a protective order. Under federal law, the abuser must have cohabitated as a spouse or have a child in common with the victim in order to be prevented from accessing firearms.160

This gap in the law allows abusers, who are at an increased risk of committing an act of deadly violence against their partners, to purchase and keep guns in the home. Abusive people in dating relationship pose just as much of a threat to their partners as abusers in marital relationships. In 2008, individuals killed by current dating partners made up almost half of all intimate partner homicides.161 Additionally, a study of applicants for domestic violence restraining orders in Los Angeles found that the most common relationship between the victim and abuser was a dating relationship.162

The following 23 states prohibit at least some abusive dating partners from gaining access to firearms, effectively closing the “boyfriend loophole”.

 

State

Prohibits Dating Partners Subject to Protective Orders

Prohibits Dating Partners Convicted of Domestic Violence Misdemeanors
Alaska163  Yes164 No
Arizona165 Yes166 Yes167
California168 Yes169 Yes170
Connecticut171 Yes172 Yes173
District of Columbia174 Yes175 Yes176
Delaware177 Yes178 Yes179
Hawaii180 Yes181 No
Illinois182 Yes183 Yes184
Kansas185 No186 Yes (though only a 5-year prohibition)187
 Louisiana188  Yes189  Yes190
 Massachusetts191  Yes192  Yes193
 Montana194  Yes195  No
 Nebraska196  No197  Yes198
 New Hampshire199  Yes200  No
New Jersey201  Yes202  Yes203
 New York204  Yes205  Yes206
 North Carolina207  Yes208 No
 North Dakota209  Yes210  No
 Oregon211  Yes212  Yes213
 Pennsylvania214  Yes215  Yes216
 Texas217  Yes218  Yes219
 Utah220  Yes221  Yes222
 Vermont223  No  Yes224
 Washington225  Yes226  Yes227
 West Virginia228  Yes229  Yes230

States That Allow Police to Remove Firearms from Domestic Violence Incidents

Eighteen states allow law enforcement officers to remove firearms when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident. These laws vary in terms of whether removal is required or simply authorized, which firearms must be removed, and the length of time that must pass after the incident before the firearms can be returned. For laws regarding law enforcement removal of firearms from dangerous people generally, see the section entitled “Removal of Firearms from Individuals Shown to Be Dangerous” in our summary on Categories of Prohibited People.

The following states require law enforcement to remove at least some firearms at the scene of a domestic violence incident:

California231
Hawaii232
Illinois233
Montana234
Nebraska235
New Hampshire236
New Jersey237
Ohio238
Oklahoma239
Pennsylvania240
Tennessee241
Utah242
West Virginia243

The following states authorize, but do not require, law enforcement to remove firearms at the scene of a domestic violence incident:

Alaska244
Arizona245
Connecticut246
Indiana247
Maryland248

The most comprehensive approach requires law enforcement to remove all firearms in the abuser’s possession, ownership or control. For example, in New Hampshire, law enforcement must remove all firearms and ammunition in an abuser’s control, ownership, or possession whenever law enforcement has probable cause to believe that a person has been abused.249 Connecticut authorizes, but does not require, the removal of all firearms and ammunition at the location where domestic violence is alleged to have been committed if the firearms or ammunition are in the possession of the suspect or in plain view.250

Other states allow the removal of only certain firearms, or allow the removal of firearms only if certain conditions are met. In New Jersey, law enforcement must remove firearms observed at the scene if law enforcement has probable cause to believe domestic violence has occurred and reasonably believes these firearms expose the victim to danger.251 In California, law enforcement officers who are at the scene of a domestic violence incident that involves a threat to human life or a physical assault must take temporary custody of any firearm in plain sight or discovered pursuant to a consensual or other lawful search.252 In Hawaii, a police officer who believes that a person recently assaulted or threatened to assault a family or household member must seize all firearms and ammunition that were used or threatened to be used in the commission of the offense. Hawaii police officers may also seize all firearms in plain view, or discovered pursuant to a consensual search, as necessary for the protection of the officer or any family or household member.253

Many states, such as Oklahoma,254 have even weaker laws, and only allow the seizure of firearms used in the incident, and only if the abuser is simultaneously arrested.

State laws also vary with respect to the duration of the removal of firearms from domestic abusers. Of the states that specify a duration, Ohio law is the strictest, requiring firearms seized at the scene of a domestic violence incident to be given (permanently) to law enforcement, sold at public auction, or destroyed, although this law only applies to firearms used, brandished, or threatened to be used in the incident.255 Some states, such as Illinois and Maryland, direct that firearms may only be held so long as they are needed for evidence or until the proceedings against the abuser are concluded.256 Other states require firearms to be held for a specified time period, such as up to 45 days257 or at least 72 hours.258

Prohibiting Stalkers from Buying or Possessing Firearms or Ammunition

Stalking is a strong predictor of future violence. One study of female murder victims in 10 cities found that 76% of women murdered and 85% who survived a murder attempt by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder.259 Under current federal law, individuals convicted of felony stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing guns. But individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses are not prohibited from accessing guns if the stalking offense was not in the context of a domestic relationship. Several states have gone above and beyond federal law to prohibit stalkers from purchasing or possessing guns.

States that Prohibit Stalking Misdemeanants from Buying or Possessing Firearms

The following 9 states prohibit purchase and possession of firearms by people convicted of a misdemeanor crime of stalking:

California260
Connecticut261
Hawaii262
Minnesota263
New York264
North Dakota265
Oregon266
Pennsylvania267
Rhode Island268

States That Require or Authorize Courts to Prohibit Subjects of Stalking Protective Orders From Buying or Possessing Firearms

Three states prohibit subjects of all stalking protective orders, including ex parte orders, from purchasing or possessing firearms:

California269
Florida270
Nebraska271

Two states prohibit subjects of stalking orders from purchasing or possessing firearms only if the order was issued after notice and a hearing:

West Virginia272
Wisconsin273

Key Legislative Elements

The features listed below are intended to provide a framework from which policy options may be considered. A jurisdiction considering new legislation should consult with counsel.

  • In addition to persons prohibited by federal law, people convicted of a violent misdemeanor against a former or current dating partner, cohabitant, or family member are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition.
  • When a person is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, the court must order the person to verify that they have relinquished all firearms and ammunition in their possession.
  • A court that is convicting a defendant of a violence misdemeanor must determine whether the crime falls within the federal definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” and, if so, must report the defendant to the databases used for firearm purchaser background checks.
  • In addition to people prohibited by federal law, former or current dating partners, cohabitants, or family members who are subject to a domestic violence protective order are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition.
  • People subject to an ex parte domestic violence protective order issued before notice or a hearing are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition.
  • All domestic violence protective orders require law enforcement to remove all firearms and ammunition in the abuser’s possession, or under his or her ownership or control.
  • Law enforcement responding to a domestic violence incident are required to remove all firearms and ammunition in the abuser’s possession, or under his or her ownership or control.
Notes
  1. See Center for American Progress, Preventing Domestic Abusers and Stalkers from Accessing Guns (May 9, 2013) at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/courts/reports/2013/05/09/60705/preventing-domestic-abusers-and-stalkers-from-accessing-guns/. ⤴︎
  2. Linda E. Saltzman, et al., Weapon Involvement and Injury Outcomes in Family and Intimate Assaults, 267 JAMA, 3043-3047 (1992). ⤴︎
  3. Jacquelyn C. Campbell, et al., Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multisite Case Control Study, 93 Am. J. Pub. Health 1089, 1092 (July 2003). ⤴︎
  4. Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010,” American Journal of Medicine 129, no. 3 (2016): 266–273. ⤴︎
  5. April Zeoli, et al., “Analysis of the Strength of Legal FirearmsRestrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Their Association with Intimate Partner Homicides,” American Journal of Epidemiology, (2017) [Epub ahead of print]. ⤴︎
  6. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008, 20 (Nov. 2011), at http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf. ⤴︎
  7. Violence Policy Center, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data 6, (September 2013) at http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2013.pdf. ⤴︎
  8. Everytown for Gun Safety, Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings 3 (August 2015), at https://everytownresearch.org/documents/2015/04/analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings.pdf. ⤴︎
  9. Susan B. Sorenson et al., Weapons in the Lives of Battered Women, 94 Am. J. Pub. Health 1412, 1413 (2004). ⤴︎
  10. Id. at 1414. ⤴︎
  11. 18 U.S.C. § (g)(8), (9). ⤴︎
  12. Homicide Trends in the U.S, supra note 4, at 19. ⤴︎
  13. Katherine A. Vittes et al., Are Temporary Restraining Orders More Likely to be Issued When Application Mention Firearms?, 30 Evaluation Rev. 266, 271, 275 (2006). Applications for protective orders were also more likely to mention firearms when the parties had not lived together and were not married. ⤴︎
  14. Homicide Trends in the U.S, supra note 4, at 21. ⤴︎
  15. Center for American Progress, Women Under the Gun:  How Gun Violence Affects Women and 4 Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them 12-15 (July 2014), at http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/GunsDomesticViolence2.pdf. ⤴︎
  16. Center for American Progress, Preventing Domestic Abusers and Stalkers from Accessing Guns 6, 10-11 (May 2013), at https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/courts/reports/2013/05/09/60705/preventing-domestic-abusers-and-stalkers-from-accessing-guns/. ⤴︎
  17. Michael Luo, “In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection,” The New York Times, March 17, 2013, at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/us/facing-protective-orders-and-allowed-to-keep-guns.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. ⤴︎
  18. Whether a crime falls within the federal definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” depends on the offender’s relationship with the victim and whether the state was required to prove that the offender used or threatened to use “physical force” within the meaning of the federal law. For a discussion of these legal issues, see U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Information Needed to Enforce the Federal Prohibition Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence (Nov. 2007), at http://www.ncdsv.org/images/MCDV_Info%20needed%20to%20enforce%20the%20firearm%20prohibition.pdf. ⤴︎
  19. Everytown for Gun Safety, Background Checks Reduce Gun Violence and Save Lives, at https://everytownresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Background-Check-FactSheet_011317_5.pdf. ⤴︎
  20. April M. Zeoli et al., Effects of Domestic Violence Policies, Alcohol Taxes, and Police Staffing Levels on Intimate Partner Homicide in Large US Cities, 16 Inj. Prev. 90 (2010). See also Elizabeth R. Vigdor et al., Do Laws Restricting Access to Firearms by Domestic Violence Offenders Prevent Intimate Partner Homicide?, 30 Evaluation Rev. 313, 332 (June 2006). ⤴︎
  21. Susan B. Sorenson, Taking Guns from Batterers: Public Support and Policy Implications, 30 Evaluation Review 361, 369 (2006). ⤴︎
  22. Colleen L. Barry et al., Perspective:  After Newtown — Public Opinion on Gun Policy and Mental Illness, 368 New Eng. J. Med. 1077-1081 (March 21, 2013) at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1300512. ⤴︎
  23. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), (9). ⤴︎
  24. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33). ⤴︎
  25. Id. Also note that the offender must have been represented by counsel or waived the right to counsel and must have been tried by a jury or waived the right to a jury, if the offense entitled the offender to a jury trial. ⤴︎
  26. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Federal Denials, November 30, 1998 –April 30, 2018,” at https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/federal_denials.pdf/view. ⤴︎
  27. Id. ⤴︎
  28. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8). ⤴︎
  29. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(32). The order must also contain a finding that the person presents a credible threat to the victim or restrain him or her from certain specified conduct. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8). Most state laws require these elements for the issuance of a protective order. ⤴︎
  30. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Federal Denials, November 30, 1998 –April 30, 2018,” at https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/federal_denials.pdf/view. ⤴︎
  31. Katherine A. Vittes et al., Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Abusers: Handgun Purchases and Restraining Orders, 98 Am. J. Public Health 828 (May 2008), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374807/. ⤴︎
  32. 42 U.S.C. § 3796gg-4. ⤴︎
  33. Note that federal law does not require background checks on ammunition purchasers. For more information on laws governing the transfer of ammunition, see our summary on Ammunition Regulation. ⤴︎
  34. Giffords Law Center is also aware of the following laws that require courts to provide domestic violence misdemeanants notice of the federal law prohibiting firearm possession, but which do not prohibit firearm possession by these individuals, or require them to surrender firearms already in their possession. Ark. Code § 5-26-313; S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-25-20, 16-25-65, 16-25-30. ⤴︎
  35. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). ⤴︎
  36. Cal. Penal Code § 29805, 30305. This prohibition applies for assault, battery and stalking misdemeanors, even if they are not domestic violence. ⤴︎
  37. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1-1001(3)(c), 18-12-108(6)(c)(I), and 18-6-801(8). Colorado uses the federal definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence”. See 18 USCS § 921(a)(33). ⤴︎
  38. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-61, 53a-61a, 53a-96; and 53a-181d. Restriction applies to misdemeanors of: assault in the third degree, assault of an elderly, blind, disabled or pregnant person, or person with intellectual disability, and unlawful restraint, even if they are not domestic violence. ⤴︎
  39. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 901(12); tit. 11, § 1448(a)(7), (d). ⤴︎
  40. D.C. Official Code § 22-4503(a)(6). The District of Columbia prohibits anyone convicted of an “[i]ntrafamily offense” from registering a firearm for five years following the conviction. All firearms in the District must be registered. D.C. Code Ann. 7-2502.03(a)(4)(D). ⤴︎
  41. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1, 134-7(b). ⤴︎
  42. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2), 65/8(k), (l); 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3.2. This restriction applies only to those convicted of domestic battery. ⤴︎
  43. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-1(c), 35-47-4-6. Required for those convicted of battery. ⤴︎
  44. Iowa Code §§ 236.2, 708.1, 708.2A, 708.11, 724.15(1), 724.26(2)(a). ⤴︎
  45. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301(a)(18), enacted in 2018 by 2017 KS HB 2145. Note that such misdemeanants are only prohibited from possessing guns under Kansas law for five years after conviction. ⤴︎
  46. La. Rev. Stat. § 14:95.10. Note that this prohibition applies only to battery offenses, and lasts for 10 years. ⤴︎
  47. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B(1)(ii)(f). ⤴︎
  48. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-B). This prohibition lasts for 5 years, and does not apply to violence committed against dating partners. ⤴︎
  49. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(b-1). ⤴︎
  50. This prohibition applies to those restricted from owning guns according to federal law, Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(viii; The length of the prohibition varies. Prohibited people include: those convicted in another state of committing an assault against a family or household member using a firearm within the past three years; Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(8); those convicted in Minnesota of assaulting a family or household member using a firearm (the court determines the prohibitive period for this violation) Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(9); those convicted of assaulting a family or household member, or of assault in the fifth degree, within the previous three years (whether or not a firearm was used). Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(12), 609.2242, subd. 3(d), (e). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted between August 1, 1992 and 2014. For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 3(e). ⤴︎
  51. R.R.S. Neb. §28-1206(1). This prohibition lasts for seven years following conviction. NOTE: (5)(a) For purposes of this section, misdemeanor crime of domestic violence means a crime that: (i) Is classified as a misdemeanor under the laws of the United States or the District of Columbia or the laws of any state, territory, possession, or tribe; (ii) Has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon; and (iii) Is committed by another against his or her spouse, his or her former spouse, a person with whom he or she has a child in common whether or not they have been married or lived together at any time, or a person with whom he or she is or was involved in a dating relationship as defined in section 28-323. ⤴︎
  52. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.360(1)(a). ⤴︎
  53. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19(a), (d), 2C:25-26(a), 2C:39-7(b), 2C:58-3(c)(1). An offense under New Jersey law only constitutes a “crime” if a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized. N.J. Stat. § 2C:1-4. ⤴︎
  54. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 400.00(1), 265.00(17)(c). ⤴︎
  55. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.255(1)(b). ⤴︎
  56. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(9). ⤴︎
  57. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a)(3)– (a)(5), 12-29-5. Rhode Island’s firearm prohibition applies to people who have been convicted of specified domestic violence misdemeanors, including the crimes of simple assault and violation of a protective order. Note, however, that people convicted of these offenses are authorized to petition a district court to regain their firearm rights under state law starting five years after the person completed his or her sentence. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-5.5. ⤴︎
  58. S.C. Code § 16-25-30(A).Time limits for the prohibition differ based on the offense : the prohibition for criminal domestic violence in the first degree for lasts 10 years; the prohibitions for criminal domestic violence in the second degree with a conclusion by the court that the person caused moderate bodily injury to their own household member and criminal domestic violence in the second or third degree lasts for three years if the judge at the time of sentencing ordered that the person is prohibited from possessing guns; the prohibition for aggravated criminal domestic violence lasts for life life. ⤴︎
  59. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-15.2. This prohibition lasts for one year. ⤴︎
  60. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(f)(1)(A). ⤴︎
  61. Texas prohibits firearm possession by domestic violence misdemeanants for five years following release from confinement or community supervision. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 71.001 et seq.; Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 22.01, 46.04(b). ⤴︎
  62. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(b)(xi). Utah only bans the purchase of guns by domestic violence misdemeanants. ⤴︎
  63. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.010, 9.41.040(2)(a)(i), 10.99.020(3). ⤴︎
  64. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(a)(8). See W. Va. Code § 61-2-28. ⤴︎
  65. Illinois, for example, prohibits firearm and ammunition possession by anyone convicted of “domestic battery,” defined to include certain acts against:

    • Any person related by blood or marriage, or through a child, to the defendant.
    • Any person who shares, or has shared, a dwelling with the defendant.
    • Any person who has, or has had, a dating or engagement relationship with the defendant (excluding casual acquaintances and ordinary fraternization in business or social contexts).
    • Any person with disabilities if the defendant was his or her personal assistant.
    • Any person with a duty to care for an elderly person or a person with disabilities in that person’s home.430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2), 65/8(l); 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3.2(a)(1), (2), 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-3.

    ⤴︎

  66. Cal. Penal Code §§ 29805, 30305. California also authorizes courts to prohibit defendants from purchasing or possessing firearms in cases where the defendant is charged with, but not yet convicted of, a domestic violence misdemeanor. Cal. Penal Code § 136.2(a)(7)(B), (d), (e). ⤴︎
  67. See 2017 NV S 124, amending Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202. ⤴︎
  68. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-1-1001(3)(c), 18-12-108(6)(c)(I), 18-6-801(8). ⤴︎
  69. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(9). ⤴︎
  70. Iowa Code §§ 236.2, 708.1, 708.2A, 708.11, 724.15(1), 724.26. ⤴︎
  71. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B(4), 129D. ⤴︎
  72. Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 3. ⤴︎
  73. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-27(c)(1). ⤴︎
  74. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 12-29-5(h), 12-29-5.4. ⤴︎
  75. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-111(c)(6), 39-17-1307(f)(1)(A); see also Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-625. ⤴︎
  76. Iowa Code § 724.26(4). ⤴︎
  77. The offenses that trigger Louisiana’s surrender law are domestic abuse battery, specified convictions for battery of a dating partner, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of domestic abuse battery or certain offenses of battery of a dating partner. 2018 La. SB 231 (signed by the Governor May 20, 2018), enacting La. Code. Crim. P. Title XXXV, Art. 1001(A)(1), (2). ⤴︎
  78. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 370.15, 380.97. ⤴︎
  79. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-11.1, 5/112A-11.2. ⤴︎
  80. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 5. ⤴︎
  81. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 13N; see also Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A, § 3D. ⤴︎
  82. Some additional states require courts to provide protective order defendants notice of the federal law prohibiting firearm possession, but do not prohibit firearm possession by these individuals, or require them to surrender firearms already in their possession. See, e.g., Ark. Code § 9-15-207(b)(3). ⤴︎
  83. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). ⤴︎
  84. Cal. Penal Code §§ 136.2, 1524(a)(11), 18250, 29825(d), 30305; Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 527.6(t), 527.9; Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6211, 6218, 6304, 6306(a), 6389. ⤴︎
  85. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-14-105, 13-14-105.5(11), 18-1-1001(9), 18-6-803.5(c)(I). ⤴︎
  86. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-36f(b), 29-36k, 46b-15, 46b-38a, 53a-217, 53a-217c. ⤴︎
  87. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, §§ 1041(2), 1043(e), 1045(a)(8); tit. 11, § 1448(a)(6). Exception for orders issued under Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 1041(1) d, e, or h. ⤴︎
  88. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2501.01(9B), 7-2502.03(a)(12), 7-2506.01, 16-1001(6)-(9), 16-1005(c)(10). The court is only authorized, but not required, to order the relinquishment of firearms: D.C. Code § 16-1005(c)(10). ⤴︎
  89. Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 741.28, 741.30(1)(e), (6)(g), 741.31(4), 790.233. ⤴︎
  90. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 134-7(f), 586-1, 586-3. ⤴︎
  91. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2), 65/8.2; 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-3, 5/112A-14(b)(14.5); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/201, 60/214(b)(14.5), 60/217(a)(3)(i). ⤴︎
  92. Iowa Code §§ 236.2(2), (4), 236.5(1)(b)(2), 724.26(2), (4). This law matches the federal requirements. ⤴︎
  93. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301(a)(17). ⤴︎
  94. La. Rev. Stat. § 46:2136.3. Required if the person presents a credible threat and the order informs them that they are prohibited from possessing a firearm. ⤴︎
  95. Me. Stat., 15 § 393 (1)(D), tit. 19-A, § 4007(1)(A-1). Required if the order meets the federal requirements. ⤴︎
  96. Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §§ 4-501, 4-506; Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(12). ⤴︎
  97. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 129B(1)(viii), 129C, 131(d)(vi); ch. 209A. ⤴︎
  98. Minn. Stat. §§ 260C.201, subd. 3, 518B.01, subd. 6, 624.713, subd. 1. ⤴︎
  99. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 173-B:1, 173-B:4, 173-B:5(II). ⤴︎
  100. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19, 2C:25-28(f), (j), 2C:25-29(b), 2C:39-7(b)(3), 2C:58-3(c)(6). ⤴︎
  101. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.11, 530.12, 530.14; N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act §§ 812, 822, 828(3), 842-a; N.Y. Penal Code § 400.00. Required if court finds: infliction of physical injury (defined as “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain” NY CLS Penal § 10.00(9); the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; or behavior constituting a violent felony offense. ⤴︎
  102. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-269.8, 50B-1, 50B-3(11), 50B-3.1. ⤴︎
  103. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.255(1)(a). ⤴︎
  104. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(b), 15-15-1, 15-15-3, 8-8.1-3(a)(4), (c). ⤴︎
  105. Tenn. Code §§ 36-3-625, 39-13-113, 39-17-1307(f)(1)(B). ⤴︎
  106. Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 25.07, 46.04; Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 71.001 et seq., 85.022(b)(6), (d); Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. art. 17.292(c)(4). ⤴︎
  107. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(b)(x). Must include a finding that the respondent or defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an an intimate partner or child of the individual; or explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm against an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner. ⤴︎
  108. Va. Code Ann. §§ 16.1-228, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-279.1, 18.2-308.09, 18.2-308.1:4, 18.2-308.2:2. ⤴︎
  109. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii), 10.99.040. Must include a finding that the respondent or defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an an intimate partner or child of the individual; or explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm against an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner. ⤴︎
  110. W. Va. Code §§ 48-27-204, 48-27-305, 48-27-403(a), 48-27-502(b), 61-7-7(a)(7). ⤴︎
  111. Wis. Stat. §§ 813.12(1)(am), (b), (c), (4m), 813.122(5m), 941.29(1)(f), (g), (2)(d), (e). ⤴︎
  112. Alaska Stat. §§ 18.66.100(c)(6), (7), 18.66.990(3), (5). Surrender of firearms only if the respondent was in possession of or used a firearm during the commission of the domestic violence. Abusers subject to this order are not prohibited from purchasing firearms. ⤴︎
  113. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3601, 13-3602(G)(4), 13-3624(D)(4). Authorized if defendant is a credible threat. ⤴︎
  114. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 31-9-2-42, 31-9-2-44.5, 34-26-5-2, 34-26-5-9(c)(4), (f). ⤴︎
  115. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.422(3)(a)(iii)-(v), 600.2950(1)(e), (12), 600.2950a(3)(c), (26). ⤴︎
  116. Mont. Code Ann. §§ 40-15-102(2)(a), 40-15-103(6), 40-15-201(f). ⤴︎
  117. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-1206(1)(a), (4)(b), 42-903, 42-924. ⤴︎
  118. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 33.018, 33.020, 33.031, 33.033. ⤴︎
  119. N.D. Cent. Code §§ 14-07.1-01, 14-07.1-02, 14-07.1-03. ⤴︎
  120. ORC Ann. 3113.31 (F)(2). ⤴︎
  121. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6105; 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 6102, 6107 – 6108.3. ⤴︎
  122. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-25-30(A)(4). Required if the family court judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition. ⤴︎
  123. S.D. Codified Laws § 25-10-24 ⤴︎
  124. Benson v. Muscari (2001) 172 Vt. 1, 769 A.2d 1291 interpreting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 1103(c). ⤴︎
  125. Cal Fam Code § 6389, 6218, 6320, 6321, 6322. ⤴︎
  126. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(11), 13-14-104.5. ⤴︎
  127. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-36f(b), 29-36k, 46b-15, 46b-38a, 53a-217, 53a-217c. ⤴︎
  128. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 134-7(f), 586-1, 586-3. ⤴︎
  129. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2), 65/8.2; 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-3, 5/112A-14(b)(14.5); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/201, 60/214(b)(14.5), 60/217(a)(3)(i). ⤴︎
  130. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 129B(1)(viii), 129C, 131(d)(vi); ch. 209A, § 3B. Required if the court finds a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse. ⤴︎
  131. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19, 2C:25-28(f), (j), 2C:25-29(b), 2C:39-7(b)(3), 2C:58-3(c)(6). ⤴︎
  132. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.12(1), 530.14(1)(a); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1). Required if respondent has a prior conviction of a violent felony; has previously willfully failed to obey a prior order of protection, and the failure involved the infliction of physical injury, the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon, or behavior constituting any violent felony offense; or has a prior conviction of stalking in the first, second, third or fourth degree. ⤴︎
  133. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(a). Required if court finds: the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon by the defendant or a pattern of prior conduct involving the use or threatened use of violence with a firearm against persons; threats to seriously injure or kill the aggrieved party or minor child by the defendant; threats to commit suicide by the defendant; or serious injuries inflicted upon the aggrieved party or minor child by the defendant. ⤴︎
  134. W. Va. Code §§ 48-27-204, 48-27-305, 48-27-403(a), 48-27-502(b), 61-7-7(a)(7). ⤴︎
  135. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3624 (D)(4). ⤴︎
  136. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 4006. ⤴︎
  137. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. §§ 600.2950(1)(e),(12), 600.2950a(3)(c). ⤴︎
  138. Mont. Code Ann. § 40-15-201(1) and (2)(f). This order only authorizes the prohibition of possession of the gun used in the assault. ⤴︎
  139. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-924(1)(g), 42-925(1). ⤴︎
  140. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 173-B:4(I). ⤴︎
  141. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-07.1-03(2)(d). Authorized if the court has probable cause to believe that the respondent is likely to use, display, or threaten to use the firearm or other dangerous weapon in any further acts of violence. ⤴︎
  142. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6107(b)(3). Must demonstrate abuse that involves a firearm or other weapon or an immediate and present danger of such abuse. ⤴︎
  143. S.D. Codified Laws § 25-10-5(6) authorizes other relief as the court deems necessary. The official form for domestic violence restraining orders in South Dakota explicitly authorizes surrender of firearms to local sheriff. Link: http://ujs.sd.gov/uploads/forms/protection/UJS-091C-Domestic%20Temporary%20Order. ⤴︎
  144. Tex. Penal Code Ann. §§ 25.07, 46.04; Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 71.001 et seq., 85.022(b)(6), (d); Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. art. 17.292(c)(4). ⤴︎
  145. State laws may also prohibit firearm purchase or possession by people subject to anti-stalking protective orders that do not depend on the relationship between the offender and the victim. These laws are not discussed here. ⤴︎
  146. Cal. Penal Code §§ 136.2, 1524(a)(11), 18250, 29825(d), 30305; Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 527.6(t), 527.9; Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6211, 6218, 6304, 6306(a), 6320-6322, 6389. ⤴︎
  147. Cal. Penal Code § 29825(d); Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 527.9(d); Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6209 – 6211. ⤴︎
  148. Some states also authorize issuance of protective orders that require the abuser to surrender his or her firearms license or to direct law enforcement to remove a firearms license from the abuser. For example, North Carolina requires a judge issuing a domestic violence protective order to direct the abuser to surrender all permits to purchase firearms and permits to carry concealed firearms if certain conditions exist. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1. ⤴︎
  149. Illinois, for example, requires the abuser to turn over his or her firearms to law enforcement. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/214. California requires the abuser either to surrender his or her firearms to law enforcement or to sell those firearms to a licensed gun dealer. Cal. Fam. Code § 6389. ⤴︎
  150. See, e.g., 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6108-6108.3. ⤴︎
  151. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j), effective August 1, 2017; 2C:25-29(b), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  152. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A, § 3B. In Massachusetts, when law enforcement serves a domestic violence protective order, law enforcement must immediately take possession of all firearms and ammunition in the abuser’s possession, or under his or her ownership or control. ⤴︎
  153. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-7(f). In Hawaii, upon service of a domestic violence restraining order, the police officer may take custody of any firearms and ammunition in plain sight, discovered pursuant to a consensual search, or surrendered by the person. If the police officer is unable to locate firearms or ammunition registered to that person or known to the victim, the police officer must apply to the court for a search warrant for the purpose of seizing firearms and ammunition. ⤴︎
  154. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j), effective August 1, 2017; 2C:25-29(b), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  155. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/214. In Illinois, when a court issues a domestic violence protective order that triggers the federal firearms prohibition, the court must also issue a warrant for seizure of any firearms in the abuser’s possession. ⤴︎
  156. For relevant citations, see the section entitled “States that Prohibit Subjects of Domestic Violence Protective Orders From Buying or Possessing Firearms” above. ⤴︎
  157. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a. Note that the federal prohibition on firearm possession may still apply even if a state (like New York) does not require the surrender of firearms by domestic abusers in all circumstances. ⤴︎
  158. Note that the federal prohibition on firearm possession may apply even if the court has not chosen to order the abuser to surrender firearms. ⤴︎
  159. 2014 Vt. H.B. 735. ⤴︎
  160. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(32). ⤴︎
  161. Homicide Trends in the U.S. See also Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway, “Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010,” American Journal of Medicine 129, no. 3 (2016): 266–273, at 19. ⤴︎
  162. Katherine A. Vittes et al., Are Temporary Restraining Orders More Likely to be Issued When Application Mention Firearms?, 30 Evaluation Rev. 266, 271, 275 (2006). Applications for protective orders were also more likely to mention firearms when the parties had not lived together and were not married. ⤴︎
  163. Alaska Stat. § 18.66.990(5). ⤴︎
  164. Alaska Stat. § 18.66.100(c)(6). ⤴︎
  165. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601. ⤴︎
  166. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3602(G)(4). ⤴︎
  167. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3101(A)(7)(d), 13-3102(A)(4). ⤴︎
  168. Cal. Family Code §§ 6211, 6218, 6389. ⤴︎
  169. Cal. Penal Code § 29825(a). ⤴︎
  170. Cal. Penal Code § 29805. ⤴︎
  171. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38a(2). ⤴︎
  172. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217(a)(4). See also Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217c(a)(5) for similar prohibitions for “criminal possession of a pistol or revolver.” ⤴︎
  173. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-61; Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-61a; Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-96; Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-181d. ⤴︎
  174. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01(9B). ⤴︎
  175. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(a)(12). ⤴︎
  176. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(a)(4)(D). ⤴︎
  177. Factors to consider for a substantive dating relationship may include the length of the relationship, or the type of relationship, or the frequency of interaction between the parties. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 1041(2)(b). ⤴︎
  178. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a)(6). This provision does not apply to a contested order issued solely upon Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 1041(1)(d), (e), or (h), or any combination thereof. ⤴︎
  179. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a)(7). ⤴︎
  180. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 586-1, 586-3. ⤴︎
  181. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7(f). ⤴︎
  182. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-3(3). ⤴︎
  183. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-14(b)(14.5)(A). ⤴︎
  184. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/4(a)(2) (ix); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8(l). ⤴︎
  185. Kan. Stat. Ann.§§ 21-6301(a)(18), 21-6301(m). ⤴︎
  186. Kansas’s prohibition on gun access by abusers subject to domestic violence restraining orders only applies to orders restraining abuse against an “intimate partner,” or the child of the abuser or intimate partner. “Intimate partner” is defined to include the abuser’s spouse or former spouse, an individual who has had a child with the abuser, or a person who cohabitates or has cohabitated with the abuser.  However, this definition excludes dating partners who have not had a child or cohabitated with the abuser. Kan. Stat. Ann.§§ 21-6301(a)(17), 21-6301(m)(3). ⤴︎
  187. A 2018 Kansas law prohibits people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing guns for five years after conviction. This law defines “domestic violence” to include the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, against a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or is a family or household memberKan. Stat. Ann.§§ 21-6301(a)(18), 21-6301(m)(1). ⤴︎
  188. Only applies to current dating partners; See 2017 LA HB 223, Section 3. ⤴︎
  189. Only if the order includes a finding that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of a family member, household member, or dating partner. Id. ⤴︎
  190. La. Rev. Stat. § 14:95.10. ⤴︎
  191. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A, § 1. ⤴︎
  192. Only applies if the plaintiff demonstrates a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse. See Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A, § 3B. ⤴︎
  193. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B(1)(i)(f); see also Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 129B; 131; ch. 265 § 13N. ⤴︎
  194. Does not apply to abusers in same-sex relationships. See Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206(2)(b). ⤴︎
  195. Mont. Code Ann. § 40-15-201(1), (2)(f). ⤴︎
  196. Does not apply to abusers in same-sex relationships. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-1206(5), 28-323(8). ⤴︎
  197. A law enacted in 2012 authorizes, but does not require, a court that is issuing a domestic violence protective order to prohibit the abuser from purchasing or possessing firearms. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-924(1)(g). ⤴︎
  198. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1206(1)(b). ⤴︎
  199. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 631:2-b(III)(b). ⤴︎
  200. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17
    3-B:5(II).
    ⤴︎
  201. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-19d. ⤴︎
  202. Id. ⤴︎
  203. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7b(1), (2). ⤴︎
  204. See N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(17). ⤴︎
  205. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1), (2), § 828(1)(a), (3); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.12(1), 530.14(1)(a), (2). See also N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1)(e), (11). ⤴︎
  206. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 400.00(1), 265.00(17). ⤴︎
  207. Does not apply to abusers in same-sex relationships. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(b). ⤴︎
  208. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3. ⤴︎
  209. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-07.1-01(4). ⤴︎
  210. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-07.1-02(4)(g). ⤴︎
  211. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.255, 135.230. ⤴︎
  212. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.255(1)(a). Effective January 1, 2019. ⤴︎
  213. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.255(1)(b). Effective January 1, 2019. ⤴︎
  214. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(9)(iv). ⤴︎
  215. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(6). ⤴︎
  216. 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(33), 922(g)(9); 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(9). ⤴︎
  217. Tex. Fam. Code §§ 71.0021, 71.003, 71.005, 71.006. ⤴︎
  218. Tex. Pen. Code § 25.07(a). ⤴︎
  219. Tex. Pen. Code § 46.04(b). See also Tex. Penal Code § 22.01(a). ⤴︎
  220. Utah Code Ann. §§ 77-36-1(4), 78B-7-102(2), (5), 78B-7-106, and 78B-7-107(2). ⤴︎
  221. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(b)(x). ⤴︎
  222. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(b)(xi). ⤴︎
  223. Indirectly. Any person who commits misdemeanor stalking, sexual assault or aggravated assault offenses would trigger the firearm prohibition. See Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, §§ 5301(7), 1062-63, 3252-53, 1024. ⤴︎
  224. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, §§ 4017(d)(3), 5301(7). ⤴︎
  225. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.010(5) and 10.99.020(3). ⤴︎
  226. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a). ⤴︎
  227. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a)(i). ⤴︎
  228. W. Va. Code §§ 61-2-9(b), (c), 61-7-7(a)(8). ⤴︎
  229. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(a)(7). ⤴︎
  230. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(a)(8). See W. Va. Code § 61-2-28. ⤴︎
  231. Cal. Penal Code §§ 18250-18500, 33850-33895. ⤴︎
  232. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 134-7.5, 709-906. ⤴︎
  233. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-30(a)(2), 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/304(a)(2). ⤴︎
  234. Mont. Code Ann. § 46-6-603. ⤴︎
  235. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-440. ⤴︎
  236. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 173-B:10. ⤴︎
  237. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21(d). ⤴︎
  238. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2935.03(B)(3)(h), 2981.12(A)(2). ⤴︎
  239. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 60.8. ⤴︎
  240. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2711. ⤴︎
  241. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-3-620, 39-17-1317. ⤴︎
  242. Utah Code Ann. § 77-36-2.1(1)(b). ⤴︎
  243. W. Va. Code § 48-27-1002. ⤴︎
  244. Alaska Stat. § 18.65.515(b). ⤴︎
  245. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601. ⤴︎
  246. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38b(a). ⤴︎
  247. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-33-1-1.5. ⤴︎
  248. Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-511. ⤴︎
  249. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 173-B:10. ⤴︎
  250. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38b(a). ⤴︎
  251. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21(d). ⤴︎
  252. Cal. Penal Code §§ 18250-18500, 33850-33895. ⤴︎
  253. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 134-7.5, 709-906. ⤴︎
  254. Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 60.8. ⤴︎
  255. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2935.03(B)(3)(h), 2981.12(A)(2). ⤴︎
  256. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-30(a)(2), 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/304(a)(2); Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-511. ⤴︎
  257. New Jersey gives the prosecutor 45 days in which to petition for title of a firearm seized at a domestic violence scene. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-21(d). ⤴︎
  258. Arizona requires firearms seized at a domestic violence scene to be held by law enforcement for at least 72 hours, and up to 6 months, if a court finds that return of the firearm may endanger the victim. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3601. ⤴︎
  259. Judith M. McFarlane, et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999): 300-316. ⤴︎
  260. Cal. Penal Code §§ 29805, 646.9. ⤴︎
  261. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217, 53a-181d. This prohibition includes ammunition. ⤴︎
  262. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1, 134-7(b). This prohibition includes ammunition. ⤴︎
  263. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(a)-(c). This prohibition lasts for 3 years, but can be increased to last up to the respondent’s lifetime if a firearm was used during commission of the stalking. ⤴︎
  264. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.00(17)(b), 265.01(4), 120.45, 120.50. Applies only to long guns. However N.Y. Penal Law §§ 400.00(1) prohibits the issuance of a license to carry handguns to these misdemeanants, effectively prohibiting the possession of handguns as well. ⤴︎
  265. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-01(b), 12.1-17-07.1. Required only if misdemeanor was committed with a dangerous weapon; the prohibition lasts for five years. ⤴︎
  266. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.255(1)(c), 163.732, effective 1/1/19.This prohibition includes ammunition. ⤴︎
  267. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(b), 2709.1. ⤴︎
  268. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a)(4)(ii), 11-52-4.2. Applies only to cyberstalking. ⤴︎
  269. Cal. Penal Code § 646.91(c)(4)(B). ⤴︎
  270. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(3)(b), (c)(10); (4)(c). This is an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), however in Florida, stalking can be a justification for seeking an ERPO. ⤴︎
  271. R.R.S. Neb. § 28-311.09, 28-1206. This is a harassment protective order. However, Nebraska’s description of stalking includes harassment as an integral component: “Any person who willfully harasses another person or a family or household member of such person with the intent to injure, terrify, threaten, or intimidate commits the offense of stalking. § 28-311.03”. ⤴︎
  272. W. Va. Code § 53-8-7(a)(2)(A)(ii), (d)(1)(F), 53-8-4(a)(2), 61-2-9a. Authorized if: a weapon was used or threatened to be used in the commission of the offense predicating the petitioning for the order;
    the respondent has violated any prior order as specified under this article; or the respondent has been convicted of an offense involving the use of a firearm; ⤴︎
  273. Wis. Stat. § 813.125(4)(a)(2), 940.32. This is a harassment protection order. Wisconsin’s definition of harassment includes stalking: Wis. Stat. § 813.125(1)(am)(1). ⤴︎