Disarming Prohibited People in Alabama

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Under a law adopted in 2009, Alabama generally authorizes a law enforcement officer to disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.1 The officer must return the firearm to the individual before discharging that individual unless the officer arrests that individual for engaging in criminal activity or seizes the firearm as evidence pursuant to an investigation for the commission of a crime or, at the discretion of the officer, the individual poses a threat to himself or herself or to others.2

Another Alabama statute states that “[i]t shall be the duty of any sheriff, policeman, or other peace officer of the State of Alabama, arresting any person charged with violating Sections 13A-11-71 through 13A-11-73 [regarding lawful possession of firearms and prohibited persons], or any one or more of those sections, to seize the [handguns] in the possession or under the control of the person or persons charged with violating the section or sections [above.]”3 The arresting officer must then deliver the handguns to one of the following named persons: if a municipal officer makes the arrest, to the city clerk or custodian of stolen property of the municipality employing the arresting officer; if a county, state, or other peace officer makes the arrest, to the sheriff of the county in which the arrest is made.4 The person receiving the handguns from the arresting officer must keep them in a safe place in as good condition as received until disposed of.5 Within five days after the final conviction of any person arrested for violating any of the sections above, the person receiving possession of the seized handguns must report the seizure and detention of said handguns to the district attorney within the county where the handguns are seized, giving a full description thereof, the number, make and model thereof, the name of the person in whose possession they were found when seized, the person making claim to same or any interest therein, if the name can be ascertained or is known, and the date of the seizure.6

Upon receipt of the report from the person receiving possession of the seized handguns, it shall be the duty of the district attorney within the county where the handguns were seized to “forthwith” file a complaint in the circuit court of the proper county, praying that the seized handguns be declared contraband, be forfeited to the state and be destroyed.7 Any person, firm or corporation or association of persons in whose possession said handguns may be seized or who claim to own or have any interest in the seized handguns shall be made a party defendant to the complaint, and the matter shall proceed and be determined in the circuit court of the proper county.8 When any judgment of condemnation and forfeiture is made in any case filed under this section the judge making the judgment shall direct the destruction of the handguns by the person receiving possession of them from the arresting officer in the presence of the clerk or register of the court, unless the judge is of the opinion that nondestruction of the handguns is necessary or proper in the ends of justice, in which event and upon recommendation of the district attorney, the judge shall award the handguns to the sheriff of the county or to the chief of police of the municipality to be used exclusively by the sheriff or the chief of police in the enforcement of law.9 In such a case, the sheriff of the county and the chiefs of police of the municipalities must keep a permanent record of all handguns awarded to them.10 The court may also direct in the judgment that the costs of the proceedings be paid by the person in whose possession the seized handguns were found, or by any party or parties who claim to own said handguns, or any interest therein, and who contested the condemnation and forfeiture thereof.11

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code §§ 31-9-8(d)(2), 31-9-10(d)(2). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-84(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Arkansas

Arkansas has no law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them. However, Arkansas law authorizes criminal courts to issue a no contact order, which may include a prohibition against firearms possession, to a defendant in a criminal proceeding if it appears that a danger exists that the defendant will commit a serious crime, seek to intimidate a witness, or otherwise unlawfully interfere with the orderly administration of justice.1

Notes
  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-85-714.  See also Ark. Code Ann. § 5.73.110 (stating that nothing in Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-85-101 – 65-85-109 shall be construed to prohibit a law enforcement officer from disarming a minor or a person who reasonably appears to be mentally defective or otherwise mentally irresponsible). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in California

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

California has adopted clear, mandatory, and enforceable relinquishment requirements for individuals subject to civil and criminal domestic violence restraining orders and other civil restraining orders, including civil and workplace harassment, elder abuse, and gun violence restraining orders. The state has also adopted a clear, mandatory, and enforceable relinquishment law to remove firearms from people convicted of or pending trial for firearm-prohibiting crimes.

For more information on relinquishment in the protective order context, see the Domestic Violence & Firearms in California page. For information on people prohibited from possessing firearms in California, see our Prohibited Persons in California page.

Relinquishment of Firearms by People Convicted of Firearm-Prohibiting Crimes

Prior to the passage of a ballot initiative called Proposition 63 in 2016, California law had no clear mechanism to ensure individuals convicted of firearm-prohibiting crimes relinquished their guns after conviction.

In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 63 to close this gap and make California the first state in the nation to require all people convicted of firearm-prohibiting crimes provide proof to the courts that they sold or transferred their firearms after conviction. Since January 1, 2018, Proposition 63 has required courts to order people convicted of firearm-prohibiting felonies and other serious crimes to relinquish their firearms (through a third-party designee) and to provide these defendants with a standard Relinquishment Form at the time of conviction.1 The form among other things:

  • Informs defendants that they are required to relinquish all firearms within specified time periods by selling or transferring the firearms to a licensed firearms dealer, or by transferring them to local law enforcement.
  • Informs defendants that they are required to declare any firearms that they possessed at the time of conviction and to name a lawful, consenting designee or law enforcement agency to relinquish those firearms on the defendants’ behalf, if applicable.
  • Requires the defendant or designee to file the completed relinquishment form with the court-assigned probation officer, along with receipts from the law enforcement agency or licensed dealer who took possession of the defendant’s firearms, verifying that the offender relinquished all firearms prior to sentencing, as required.2

This law requires an assigned probation officer to notify the court about whether the offender properly relinquished all firearms indicated on the relinquishment form or by California’s automated database of firearm sale records.3 Courts are generally required to verify that relinquishment occurred before final disposition of the defendant’s case.4 If the court finds probable cause that the defendant failed to relinquish all firearms, as required, the court will order the search for and removal of the defendant’s firearms at any location where the judge has probable cause to believe the defendant’s firearms are located.5

This relinquishment process implements best practices from California’s domestic violence protective order and gun violence restraining order laws by providing clear and mandatory procedures to all prohibited criminal offenders, by expressly requiring proof of relinquishment, and by requiring further enforcement action if the offender illegally retains his or her weapons after conviction.

Relinquishment of Firearms by People Subject to Gun Violence Restraining Orders

In 2014, California enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law.6 California’s law refers to these orders as Gun Violence Restraining Orders or GVROs and has been in effect since January 1, 2016.7

California’s law authorizes a person’s family members and current or former household members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file petitions for a civil court order called a GVRO when a person poses an extreme risk to themselves or others by having legal access to firearms or ammunition.8 If the judge concludes that the respondent poses a danger to self or others (as discussed below), the court may issue a Gun Violence Restraining Order to temporarily suspend the respondent’s legal access to guns and ammunition. This order prevents that person from passing a background check to obtain weapons and may also authorize law enforcement to remove any weapons in the respondent’s possession. Like domestic violence restraining orders, GVROs can be issued on an emergency basis upon request from a law enforcement officer. GVROs can be issued after a noticed hearing for up to one year and may be renewed or terminated.

Emergency Orders

A court may issue an ex parte GVRO, prior to providing notice and a hearing, if the court finds there is a substantial likelihood that the respondent poses a significant danger to self or others in the near future by having legal access to firearms or ammunition and that a GVRO is necessary under the circumstances to prevent such harm.9 To make this determination, the court must examine the petitioner and any available witnesses under oath, or require the petitioner and any witnesses to submit written affidavits submitted under oath.10 This order, if issued, will last 21 days by which time the respondent should be notified (“served”) and a hearing on whether the court should issue a 1 year order should be held

In more immediately urgent cases, law enforcement officers may also obtain temporary emergency GVROs, if the court finds reasonable cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of harm to self or others and that a GVRO is necessary under the circumstances.11 These emergency GVROs may generally be in effect for no more than 21 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a full one-year GVRO.12

Orders after Notice and a Hearing

To initiate the standard GVRO process (for GVROs issued “after notice and a hearing”), an eligible petitioner must file a petition with a court on forms provided by the California court system.13 In most cases, the court is required to provide notice of a hearing to the respondent and hold a hearing within 21 days of receiving the petition.14

At the hearing, the petitioner has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others by having access to firearms or ammunition and that a GVRO is necessary to prevent personal injury because less restrictive alternatives have been tried and found to be ineffective, or are inadequate or inappropriate for the respondent’s circumstances.

In determining whether to issue a GVRO, the court must consider specified evidence, including whether the respondent has:

  • Made threats or acts of violence against self or others within the past six months
  • Exhibited any pattern of violent acts or threats within the previous 12 months
  • Violated domestic violence protective orders
  • Been previously convicted for any crime prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms15

The court may also consider any other evidence that is indicative of an increased risk for violence, such as:

  • The respondent’s history of violence or physical force against others
  • Unlawful and reckless use of firearms
  • Recent acquisition of weapons
  • Ongoing abuse of drugs or alcohol16

If, after the hearing, the judge concludes that there is clear and convincing evidence to issue a GVRO, the court will issue a GVRO prohibiting the respondent from accessing or acquiring firearms or ammunition for one year.17

If the court issues a GVRO, it must also order the respondent to relinquish any firearms or ammunition that he or she owns or possesses.18 There is no fee for law enforcement to serve the order. When they do, they are required to ask the restrained party to relinquish any firearms they own or possess. The respondent is required to immediately relinquish his or her weapons to the officer, upon request. Alternatively, if a law enforcement officer does not serve the order, the respondent is required to sell or temporarily transfer his or her weapons to a licensed firearms dealer or the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of being served with the order.19 The law enforcement officer or dealer taking possession of the respondent’s weapons is required to issue a receipt to the respondent; the respondent is then required to provide this receipt to the court that issued the GVRO, and to provide a copy of the receipt to the law enforcement agency that served the GVRO, within 48 hours.20 For further information on firearm relinquishment for GVROs in California, see the information and relinquishment forms provided to GVRO respondents by the courts.

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that a GVRO be lifted21 and for petitioners to request that the GVRO be renewed and extended.22

California makes it a crime to file a petition for a GVRO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with an intent to harass the respondent.23

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Relinquishment of Firearms by People with Severe Mental Health Impairments

California law requires law enforcement to confiscate weapons found to be under the possession or control of any person who has been detained or apprehended for examination of his or her mental condition, or who is prohibited from possession of firearms by reason of a mental disorder.24 Law enforcement must, upon confiscation, retain custody of the firearm, issue a receipt describing the firearm, and notify the individual of the procedure for return of the firearm.25 Upon release from a mental health facility, the health facility personnel must notify the individual of the procedure for the return of a confiscated firearm.26 Health facility personnel also must notify the confiscating law enforcement agency of the release of the detained individual, and must document that the facility provided notice regarding the procedure for return of any confiscated firearm.27 California law also authorizes the issuance of a search warrant when the property to be seized includes a firearm owned by, or in the possession of, a person who has been detained for examination of his or her mental condition, or who is prohibited from possession of firearms by reason of a mental disorder.28

Recovering Illegally Owned Weapons – “APPS”

California law also requires the state Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish and maintain the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS),29 an electronic database of individuals who once legally purchased a firearm, or registered an assault weapon, and then became illegally armed by keeping those weapons after they became prohibited from possessing them under state or federal law. (This occurs, for example, when a gun owner is convicted of a domestic violence offense but fails to relinquish his or her firearms).30

State law requires DOJ, in conjunction with local law enforcement, to conduct enforcement actions to remove firearms from illegally armed individuals identified in APPS.31

The information contained in APPS can only be made available to certain entities–primarily law enforcement agencies–to actively identify persons armed yet prohibited from possessing firearms.32

In 2017 alone, APPS enforcement efforts recovered 3,685 illegally owned firearms, and over 800,000 rounds of illegally owned ammunition.33

Notes
  1. See Cal. Penal Code § 29810(a). ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 29810(b). ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 29810(c)(1)-(c)(2). ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 29810(c)(3). ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 29810(c)(4). For the findings form used by the court for firearm relinquishment, see https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/cr210.pdf ⤴︎
  6. 2014 CA AB 1014. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Pen. Code § 18122. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18150(a), 18170. This law authorizes a person’s “immediate family member” or a law enforcement officer to file these petitions; “immediate family member” is defined to mean “any spouse, whether by marriage or not, domestic partner, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.” See Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18150(a)(2), 18170(b) (referencing definition in Cal. Pen. Code § 422.4(b)(3). ⤴︎
  9. Cal. Pen. Code § 18150(b). ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Pen. Code § 18155(a). ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18125, 18145. ⤴︎
  12. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 18148, 18165, 18195. ⤴︎
  13. Cal. Pen. Code § 18105. The petition is required to include information about the number, types, and locations of any firearms and ammunition that the petitioner believes are possessed or controlled by the subject of the petition. Cal. Pen. Code § 18107. ⤴︎
  14. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18150, 18165, 18175, 18195. ⤴︎
  15. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(a), 18155(b)(1). ⤴︎
  16. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(a), 18155(b)(2). ⤴︎
  17. Cal. Pen Code §§ 18175(c), (d), 18120(a). ⤴︎
  18. Cal. Pen Code § 18120(b). ⤴︎
  19. Cal. Pen Code § 18120(b)(2). The respondent may store his or her weapons with the agency or dealer for the duration of the order. ⤴︎
  20. Id. ⤴︎
  21. Cal. Pen. Code § 18185. ⤴︎
  22. Cal. Pen. Code § 18185, 18190. ⤴︎
  23. Cal. Pen. Code § 18200. Petitioners may also be subject to perjury charges for submitting knowingly false information to the courts under oath. ⤴︎
  24. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8102. ⤴︎
  25. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8102(a)-(b)(1). ⤴︎
  26. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8102(b)(2). ⤴︎
  27. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8102(b)(3). The administrative procedures regarding the return of a firearm after an individual’s release from a mental health facility are detailed under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8102(c)-(h). ⤴︎
  28. Cal. Penal Code § 1524(a)(10). ⤴︎
  29. Cal. Pen. Code § 30000. State law also refers to APPS as the “Prohibited armed Persons File.” ⤴︎
  30. Cal. Pen. Code § 30005. ⤴︎
  31. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 30005-30015. ⤴︎
  32. Cal. Penal Code § 30000(b), this section references Cal. Penal Code § 11105(b), (c). ⤴︎
  33. See California Department of Justice, “APPS 2017 Annual Report to the Legislature” (Revised Mar. 9, 2018), available at http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/publications/sb-140-supp-budget-report.pdf. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Colorado

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Colorado law allows for the removal of guns from the hands of domestic abusers. See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Colorado for more information about that law.

Colorado has no law requiring the removal of firearms from other persons who have become prohibited from possessing them. However, Colorado law provides that, upon the discharge of any inmate from the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Department must provide a written advisement to the inmate that it is a crime if the person knowingly possesses, uses, or carries upon his or her person a firearm subsequent to the person’s conviction for a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony. Any written stipulation for a deferred judgment and sentence must contain the same written advisement.1

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2019, Colorado enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.2 The law, called an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, or family or household member to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to 14 days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.3

The respondent can submit one request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.4

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108. ⤴︎
  2. 2019 CO HB 1177. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Connecticut

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Persons Falling into State Prohibited Categories

Generally, whenever a person becomes ineligible to possess a firearm, he or she has two business days from the event causing the ineligibility to transfer any firearm in his or her possession to any person eligible to possess them.1 The person must obtain an authorization number for the sale or transfer from the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and submit a sale or transfer form to the Commissioner within two business days. The ineligible person may alternatively surrender the firearm(s) to the Commissioner through a local police department.2 The ineligible person must also transfer any ammunition in his or her possession to an eligible person.3 However, pursuant to a law Connecticut adopted in 2016, a person who becomes ineligible because of the issuance of a domestic violence protective order must sell any firearm or ammunition in his or her possession only to a federally licensed firearms dealer or surrender them to the Commissioner through a local police department, within 24 hours of notice of the protective order.4

The Commissioner, in conjunction with the Chief State’s Attorney and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, must develop and maintain a protocol to ensure that persons who become ineligible to possess a firearm have transferred the gun to an eligible person, or have delivered or surrendered the firearm to the Commissioner. The protocol must include specific instructions for the transfer, delivery or surrender of guns when the assistance of more than one law enforcement agency is necessary to effect these requirements.5

Gun Possessors Posing Imminent Risk of Injury

In Connecticut, a state’s attorney or any two police officers may file a complaint to any Superior Court judge for seizure of a firearm or ammunition when they have probable cause to believe that:  1) a person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself, herself or others; 2) the person possesses one or more firearms; and 3) the firearm is within or upon any place, thing or person.6 Probable cause may be based on:

  • Recent threats or acts of violence directed towards self or others;
  • Recent acts of cruelty to animals;
  • Reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm;
  • A history of use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against others;
  • Illegal use of controlled substances or abuse of alcohol; or
  • Involuntary confinement to a hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities.7

The judge may then issue a warrant commanding a law enforcement officer to search that person, place, or thing, and take any and all firearms or ammunition into custody.8 The court must hold a hearing no later than 14 days after execution of the warrant to determine whether the seized firearms and ammunition should be returned to the person named in the warrant.9 If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or others, it may order the state to continue to hold the firearms and ammunition for up to one year.10

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36k(b). ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36n(b). ⤴︎
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). ⤴︎
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(b). Any person whose firearms have been ordered seized under this statute, or his or her legal representative, may transfer the firearms in accordance with the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33 or other applicable state or federal law, to any person eligible to possess firearms. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(e). ⤴︎
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). ⤴︎
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(d). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Delaware

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on June 27, 2018, Delaware enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family and household members and law enforcement officers– to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. In Delaware, these orders are called Lethal Violence Protection Orders. If the court determines that the person (known as a “respondent”) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others, it will issue an order prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing guns for one year.1 An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement. Law enforcement officers may also petition for an emergency order, which only requires a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that there is an immediate and present danger.2 An emergency order lasts for fifteen days, and can be extended up to forty-five days.3 Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Persons Reported by Licensed Mental Health Practitioners

Under certain circumstances, licensed mental health practitioners are required to report to law enforcement about patients who explicitly threaten to cause serious harm to a person or property or the mental health practitioner otherwise concludes the patient is likely to do so.4 Upon receipt of the information, law enforcement shall use that information to determine whether there is probable cause that the patient is dangerous to him- or herself or others. If so, the law enforcement agency must seek “an order from the Justice of the Peace Court that the individual relinquish any firearms or ammunition owned, possessed, or controlled by the individual,” and refer the the report to the state Department of Justice.5 The Justice of the Peace Court is to issue such an order on a finding of dangerousness by the preponderance of the evidence.6

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Delaware also has laws requiring the surrender or removal of firearms from domestic violence abusers subject to protective orders who have become prohibited from possessing them. See the Delaware Domestic Violence & Firearms section for further information.

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7704. ⤴︎
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7703. ⤴︎
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 7703(f). ⤴︎
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 16 § 5402. ⤴︎
  5. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1448C(b). ⤴︎
  6. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1448C(d)(1). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Florida

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law. The law authorizes law enforcement agencies to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.1 Law enforcement officers or agencies may file ERPO petitions when they have information that a person “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having a firearm or any ammunition in his or her custody or control or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or any ammunition.”2

In order to obtain an ERPO, a law enforcement officer or agency must file a petition in the county where the petitioner’s law enforcement office is located or the county where the respondent resides,3 supported by a written affidavit, signed under oath, containing specific evidence of the respondent’s dangerousness.4

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter.5 If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having a firearm or ammunition in his or her custody or control, the court must issue a risk protection order for a period that it deems appropriate, up to and including but not exceeding 12 months.6 The risk protection order prohibits the respondent from possessing, acquiring, or attempting to acquire any firearms while the order is in effect.7 The respondent is required to surrender his or her firearms and ammunition to local law enforcement and to relinquish any concealed carry permit to the licensing agency as well.8 If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that there are firearms or ammunition owned by the respondent that are in the respondent’s custody, control, or possession which have not been surrendered, the officer may seek a search warrant to search for the respondent’s firearms or ammunition.9

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing, if the court finds reasonable cause based on detailed allegations in the ERPO petition that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm or ammunition.10 The temporary ERPO will generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.11

Florida’s law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted12 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended.13

Upon termination of the ERPO, the agency holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.14

Florida makes it a third-degree felony to make a material false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an ERPO hearing.15

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

Seizing Firearms Before Involuntary Mental Health Examination

In 2018, Florida adopted a law authorizing law enforcement officers to seize firearms and ammunition from people being taken into custody for an involuntary mental health examination.16 Law enforcement officers may request voluntary surrender of firearms or ammunition from people meeting the criteria for an examination, or they “may seize and hold a firearm or any ammunition the person possesses at the time of taking him or her into custody if the person poses a potential danger to himself or herself or others and has made a credible threat of violence against another person.”17

Firearms or ammunition seized pursuant to this law must generally be made available for return no later than 24 hours after the person taken into custody can document that he or she is no longer subject to involuntary examination and has been released or discharged, unless a risk protection order (see above) directs the law enforcement agency to hold the firearms or ammunition for a longer period, or unless the person has become prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or owning firearms.18

Disarming Other Prohibited People

Florida has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from, or the surrender of firearms by, persons who have become prohibited from possessing firearms, including domestic abusers. Florida does, however, consider it a violation of a protective order to refuse to surrender firearms if the court that issued the protective order ordered the abuser to do so.19

Notes
  1. Fla. Stat. § 790.401, et seq. (enacted in 2018 by 2018 FL SB 7026). ⤴︎
  2. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(e). ⤴︎
  3. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(b). ⤴︎
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(2)(e). ⤴︎
  5. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(3). ⤴︎
  6. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(3)(b). ⤴︎
  7. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(11)(b). ⤴︎
  8. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(7)(a). ⤴︎
  9. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(7)(b). ⤴︎
  10. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(4)(a). ⤴︎
  11. Fla. Stat. §§ 790.401(4)(f), 790.401(3)(a). ⤴︎
  12. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(6)(a). ⤴︎
  13. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(6)(c). ⤴︎
  14. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(8)(a). ⤴︎
  15. Fla. Stat. § 790.401(11)(a). ⤴︎
  16. Fla. Stat. §394.463(2)(d). ⤴︎
  17. Fla. Stat. § 394.463(2)(d)(1)-(2). ⤴︎
  18. Fla. Stat. § 394.463(2)(d)(3). ⤴︎
  19. Fla. Stat. § 741.31(4)(a)(8). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Georgia

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Georgia law declares any weapon the possession or carrying of which constitutes a crime or delinquent act to be contraband and forfeited.1 Georgia law also describes the fate of a confiscated weapon when a defendant is found guilty of the illegal possession or carrying of the weapon.2 However, Georgia has no law requiring the removal of firearms when a person initially becomes prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Ga. Code Ann. § 17-5-51. ⤴︎
  2. Ga. Code Ann. § 17-5-52. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Hawaii

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For information on laws authorizing the disarmament of individuals involved in domestic violence in Hawaii, see the Hawaii Domestic Violence and Firearms section.

Firearm Permit Denials

Any person denied a permit to acquire a firearm may be required by the chief of police to voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police or “dispose” of the firearms or ammunition by selling them to a licensed gun dealer.1 If the applicant fails to surrender or dispose of the guns and ammunition within 30 days of the date the person received notice, the chief may seize the guns and ammunition.2

Prohibited People

Furthermore, any person who is disqualified from the ownership, possession, or control of firearms or ammunition because he or she falls into a federal or state prohibited class on the basis of anything other than mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction, must voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police where the person resides or “dispose” of the guns and ammunition by selling them to a licensed gun dealer.3 If the person does not voluntarily surrender or dispose of the firearms or ammunition within seven days from the date of disqualification, the chief of police may seize the guns and ammunition.4

For any person disqualified due to drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility, once the chief of police is notified of the disqualification, he or she shall promptly issue a notice to the disqualified person to immediately surrender all firearms and ammunition. The written notice shall state the reasons for the disqualification, and require the person to immediately surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police. If the individual fails to voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition upon receiving notice, the chief of police may seize all firearms and ammunition. The firearms and ammunition shall be held in police custody until the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected or until transferred or sold by the owner.5

Individuals convicted for a third or subsequent offense of violating the state requirement to report the loss or theft of a firearm must surrender all firearm registrations, ammunition, and firearms to the police department for the county within which the person resides within seven days of receiving a notice of violation.6 Upon a failure to surrender, local law enforcement is authorized to seize any firearm registrations, firearm ammunition, and firearms registered to and in possession of the person.7

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2019, Hawaii enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to disarm a person in crisis.8 The law, called a gun violence protective order, also known as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, family or household member, medical professional, educator, or coworker to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year and prohibits the individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish any guns or ammunition in his or her possession to law enforcement and will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to 14 days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.9

The respondent can submit a request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.10

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

 

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(c). ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-29(d)(3)(A). ⤴︎
  7. Id. at (e). ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-61 et seq. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Idaho

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Idaho has no laws requiring the disarming of prohibited persons. Furthermore, the Idaho Constitution generally prohibits “any law permit[ting] the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.”1

Notes
  1. Idaho Const. Art. I, § 11. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Illinois

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In Illinois, gun owners are generally required to possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. The Department of State Police has the authority to revoke or temporarily suspend a FOID card if the holder loses his or her eligibility to possess guns.1 A person who receives a revocation notice must:2

  • Surrender his or her FOID card to the local law enforcement agency where the person resides. The local law enforcement agency must provide the person with a receipt and transfer the FOID card to the Department of State Police;
  • Complete a Firearm Disposition Record form which must disclose the make, model, and serial number of each firearm owned by the person, the location where each firearm will be maintained during the prohibited term, and if any firearm will be transferred to another person, the name, address and FOID card number of the transferee. A copy of this form must be provided to the person whose FOID card has been revoked and to the Department of State Police.3

A violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor. If a person who receives a notice of revocation fails to comply with these requirements, the local law enforcement agency may petition the circuit court to issue a warrant to search for and seize the FOID card and firearms in the possession of that person.4

A separate provision of Illinois law states that, if a person is convicted of a felony and receives a sentence of probation or a conditional discharge, the person must physically surrender at a time and place designated by the court his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and any and all firearms in his or her possession.5

If a person is charged with certain crimes, including forcible felony, stalking, domestic battery or any violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a condition of release on bail must be that the individual surrender all firearms in his or her possession to a law enforcement officer designated by the court and surrender his or her FOID card to the clerk of the circuit court.6 The court may forego this condition if the circumstances of the case do not clearly warrant it or when its imposition would be impracticable.7 If the FOID card is confiscated, the clerk of the circuit court must mail the confiscated card to the Illinois State Police.8 All legally possessed firearms must be returned to the person upon the charges being dismissed, or if the person is found not guilty (unless found not guilty by reason of insanity).9

Firearm Seizure Act

Illinois law provides that any person can bring a complaint before a circuit court that a person possessing a firearm or firearms has threatened to use a firearm illegally. If the court is satisfied that there is any danger of such illegal use of firearms, it must issue a warrant requiring the apprehension of the person for appearance before the court, and authorizing the seizure of any firearm in the person’s possession. The court must order any firearm taken from the person to be kept by the state for safekeeping for a stated period of time no longer than one year. The firearm or firearms must be returned to the person at the end of the stated period.10

Firearms Restraining Orders (Extreme Risk Protection Orders)

In 2018, Illinois enacted the Firearms Restraining Order Act.11 Effective January 1, 2019, this new law will authorize a person’s family or household members,12 as well as law enforcement officers, to petition a circuit court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to six months.

In order to obtain a Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), the petitioner must file an affidavit or verified petition with the circuit court in the county where the respondent resides alleging that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. 13 In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter within 30 days.

If the judge concludes that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent is a significant danger with firearms, the court will issue a 6-month FRO prohibiting the respondent from possessing or receiving firearms for the duration of the order.14  If the court issues an FRO, it must also order the respondent to temporarily transfer to local law enforcement any firearms, FOID Card, or concealed carry license in his or her possession.15

In urgent cases, petitioners can request an emergency FRO by filing an affidavit or verified pleading with the court alleging that the respondent poses an “immediate and present danger” of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.16  In such cases, courts are required to hold an ex parte hearing (without waiting for the respondent to receive notice of the hearing) on the same day the emergency petition is filed or the next day the court is in session.17  If the judge finds probable cause to believe a respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to self or others with firearms, the judge will issue an emergency FRO, which generally lasts for up to 14 days.18 If the court also finds probable cause that the respondent already possesses firearms, the court is also required to issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement agency to seize the respondent’s firearms. The court may, as part of that warrant, direct the law enforcement agency to search the respondent’s residence and other places where the court finds there is probable cause to believe he or she is likely to possess the firearms.19

Upon termination of the FRO, law enforcement holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an FRO be lifted and for petitioners to request that the FRO be renewed and extended by six months.20

Illinois law makes it a crime to knowingly present false information in an FRO petition.21

For more information about laws similar to the Firearms Restraining Order, visit our policy page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

For circumstances when the surrender of firearms are required pursuant to a court’s domestic violence protective order, see the “Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued” subsection of the Domestic Violence & Firearms in Illinois section.

Admission to Mental Health Facilities

Any mental hospital that admits a person as an inpatient pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code must confiscate any firearms in the possession of that person at the time of admission, or at any time the firearms are discovered in the person’s possession during the course of hospitalization.22 The hospital must, as soon as possible following confiscation, transfer custody of the firearms to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and give written notice to the person from whom the firearm was confiscated of the identity and address of the law enforcement agency to which it has given the firearm. The law enforcement agency must maintain possession of any firearm it obtains pursuant to this subsection for a minimum of 90 days, and then dispose of the firearm after that period pursuant to state law.23

Notes
  1. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8 and 430 ILCS 65/8.3. ⤴︎
  2. DSP must also send a notice of the revocation to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to assist with the seizure of the person’s FOID card. 430 ILCS 65/3.1. ⤴︎
  3. 430 Ill. Stat. Comp. 65/9.5(a), (b). ⤴︎
  4. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/9.5(c), (d). ⤴︎
  5. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(9). ⤴︎
  6. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/110-10(a)(5). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 165/0.01 et seq. ⤴︎
  11. See 2017 IL HB 2354 ⤴︎
  12. The Firearms Restraining Order Act defines eligible petitioners to include either a law enforcement officer or a “family member” of the respondent. The Act defines “family member” for these purposes to mean “a spouse, parent, child, or step-child of the respondent, any other person related by blood or present marriage to the respondent, or a person who shares a common dwelling with the respondent.” See Id., Section 5 (“Definitions”). ⤴︎
  13. Id., Section 40(a). ⤴︎
  14. In considering whether to issue a 6-month FRO, the court shall consider evidence including, but not limited to, the following:

    (1) The unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm by the respondent.

    (2) The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person.

    (3) Any prior arrest of the respondent for a felony offense.

    (4) Evidence of the abuse of controlled substances or alcohol by the respondent.

    (5) A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    (6) A violation of an emergency order of protection issued under Section 217 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 or of an order of protection issued under Section 214 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

    (7) A pattern of violent acts or violent threats, including, but not limited to, threats of violence or acts of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    See Id., Section 40(e). ⤴︎

  15. Id., Section 35(g) and 40(h). ⤴︎
  16. Id., Section 35. ⤴︎
  17. Id., Section 35(d), (e). ⤴︎
  18. Id., Section 35(i). ⤴︎
  19. Id., Section 35(f), (f-5). ⤴︎
  20. See id., Section 45. ⤴︎
  21. See id., Section 35(c) and 40(c). ⤴︎
  22. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-6(c). ⤴︎
  23. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-6(c). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Indiana

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Domestic Violence Perpetrators

A person subject to an order for protection for domestic or family violence may be prohibited by a court from using or possessing a firearm or ammunition.1 The order may direct the subject person to surrender to law enforcement the firearm and ammunition for the duration of the order. See the Indiana Domestic Violence and Firearms section for further information.

Dangerous Individuals

Under Indiana law, a “dangerous individual” is defined to include a person who:

  • Presents an imminent risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person; or
  • It is probable that the individual will present a risk of personal injury to himself, herself or another person in the future and he or she:

Has a mental illness that may be controlled by medication, and has not demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking the individual’s medication while not under supervision; or

Is the subject of documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that he or she has a propensity for violent or suicidal conduct.2

A circuit or superior court may issue a warrant to search for and seize a firearm in the possession of a “dangerous individual” if:

  • A law enforcement officer provides the court a sworn affidavit describing the facts that have led the officer to believe the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm. The affidavit must also describe the officer’s interactions and conversations with:

The individual who is alleged to be dangerous; or

Another individual, if the law enforcement officer believes that information obtained from this individual is credible and reliable;

  • The affidavit specifically describes the location of the firearm; and
  • The circuit or superior court determines that probable cause exists to believe that the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm.3

Law enforcement officers may seize firearms from any individual whom the law enforcement officer believes to be dangerous without obtaining a warrant. In such an instance, the officer must submit to the court having jurisdiction over the individual an affidavit describing the basis for the officer’s belief that the individual is dangerous within 48-hours of the seizure.4

If the court finds that probable cause exists to believe the individual is dangerous, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to retain the firearm.5 Following the seizure of firearms with or without a warrant, a law enforcement agency must file a search warrant return with the court setting forth the quantity  and type of each firearm seized.6

If the court finds that there is no such probable cause, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to return the firearm to the individual.7

After the filing of a search warrant return or an affidavit following a warrantless search, the court shall conduct a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days following the filing of the return or affidavit.8 At the hearing, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is dangerous as defined.

If the court determines that the state has met its burden of proof, the court shall issue a written order:

  • ordering the law enforcement agency having custody of the seized firearm to retain the firearm;
  • ordering the individual’s license to carry a handgun, if applicable, suspended; and
  • prohibiting the individual from possessing, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.

The court must also determine whether the individual should be referred to further proceedings to consider whether the individual should be involuntarily detained or committed.

If the court finds that the individual is dangerous, the clerk shall transmit the order to the office of judicial administration for transmission to NICS.9

If a court orders a law enforcement agency to retain individual’s firearm, the individual may petition the court for a determination that he or she is no longer dangerous at least 180 days after the initial ruling.10 The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not dangerous to obtain the firearm.11

Prior to one year from the date the order is issued, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is still dangerous and, if the court finds the state has met its burden of proof, the order will be continued and the respondent must wait 180 days to petition to terminate the order as described above.12

If the court has ordered the law enforcement agency to retain possession of the firearm, the respondent may petition the court to require the agency to transfer the firearm(s) to a “responsible third party” or a federally licensed gun dealer.13 A “responsible third party”14 is someone who:

  • does not cohabitate with the person found to be dangerous in the hearing;
  • is a proper person (as defined under section 35-47-1-7) who may lawfully possess a firearm; and
  • is willing to enter into a written court agreement to accept the transfer of the firearm as a responsible third party.
Notes
  1. Ind. Code Ann. § 34-26-5-9(c)(4), (f). ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1(a). ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2. ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(a), (b). ⤴︎
  5. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b). ⤴︎
  6. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-2(b), 3(e). ⤴︎
  7. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-3(b). ⤴︎
  8. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-5. ⤴︎
  9. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-6. ⤴︎
  10. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(a). ⤴︎
  11. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e). ⤴︎
  12. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-8(e), (g). ⤴︎
  13. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-10. ⤴︎
  14. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-14-1.5. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Iowa

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Under a law enacted in 2010, an Iowa state court that enters a judgment of conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor or issues a domestic violence protective order and finds that the subject of the order or conviction is in possession of any firearm or ammunition must order the person to surrender the firearm or ammunition. For more information on the surrender of firearms by domestic violence abusers, see the Iowa Domestic Violence & Firearms section. Iowa has no similar law requiring the surrender of firearms by convicted felons or other individuals prohibited from possessing firearms.

Disarming Prohibited People in Kentucky

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Kentucky law states that any firearm illegally transferred to a convicted felon is subject to forfeiture.1 Kentucky has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.070(3). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Louisiana

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In 2018, Louisiana adopted a law requiring courts to order some domestic violence offenders to surrender their firearms to local law enforcement. However, the law gives offenders the option to ask law enforcement to transfer their firearms to a third party chosen by the offender. The law requires courts to order surrender of firearms in two types of situations: (1) after the issuance of a domestic violence protective order that prohibits firearm possession; and (2) after specified types of domestic violence convictions, including domestic abuse battery, specified offenses of 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.1 In 2019, Louisiana expanded the list of domestic violence offenses for which this transfer is required, adding domestic abuse aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a dating partner, and certain felony convictions for crimes committed against family members, household members, and dating partners.2

Under Louisiana’s surrender law, when a person is convicted of a disqualifying domestic violence offense or becomes subject to a firearm-prohibiting protective order, the court must at the same time issue an order suspending that person’s concealed carry permit, directing the person to surrender their firearms, and requiring that the person provide information about the number and location of firearms in their possession (or a declaration stating they do not possess any).3 The court must then inform the person in open court that they are required to transfer all firearms in their possession to the sheriff within 48 hours.4

At the time of transfer, the sheriff and the person transferring their firearms are both required to complete a proof of transfer form, to be filed with the court.5 After firearms are transferred to the sheriff, the sheriff must give the transferor the option to allow a third party to receive and hold the transferred firearms, except that no firearm may be transferred to a third party living in the same residence as the transferor at the time of transfer. If the transferor does not elect to transfer firearms to a third party, the transferor has the option to store firearms with the sheriff or ask the sheriff to oversee the legal sale of the transferred firearms to a third party.6 The law also specifies a process for return of firearms when the person is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law.7

Except with respect to domestic violence offenders described above, Louisiana has no law requiring the removal of firearms from other people who have become prohibited from possessing them.8

 

Notes
  1. 2018 La. SB 231 (signed by the Governor May 20, 2018), enacting La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. § art.1001 et seq. ⤴︎
  2. 2019 LA HB 279, amending La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. § art.1002. ⤴︎
  3. Id. Art. 1001(B), (C). ⤴︎
  4. Id. Art. 1001(D). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. Art. 1002(A). ⤴︎
  7. Id. Art. 1002(D). ⤴︎
  8. Note that Louisiana law authorizes (but does not require) law enforcement to confiscate and dispose of any “criminal instrument,” which are instruments “specially designed, made, adapted for use, or actually used in the commission of an offense.” La. Rev. Stat. § 15:33. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Maryland

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Maryland law does not establish a clear process to ensure the surrender or removal of guns from violent offenders. Maryland has enacted mandatory laws requiring the relinquishment of firearms by domestic violence abusers, however, as well as an extreme risk protection order law.

Extreme Risk Protective Orders

In 2018, Maryland enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. The law, called an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) law, allows a law enforcement officer, family member, dating partner, mental health professional, or health officer to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others.1 If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement. Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protective Orders.

Handguns and Assault Weapons

A regulated firearm (handgun or assault weapon) or an assault pistol that is sold, rented, transferred, possessed, received or purchased in violation of state law governing such firearms may be seized by law enforcement as “contraband” and disposed of.2 A handgun that is “worn, carried, or transported” in violation of state laws governing the carrying and transporting of handguns is subject to seizure and forfeiture by law enforcement.3 Ammunition found “in the immediate vicinity” of such a handgun is also subject to seizure.4 Moreover, ammunition “worn, carried, or transported” in violation of state laws governing the carrying and transporting of handguns or penalizing the commission of a crime with a handgun is also subject to seizure and forfeiture.5

A law enforcement officer may conduct a limited search, without a search warrant, if he or she reasonably believes a person: 1) may be wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun in violation of state law; and 2) is a danger to law enforcement or others due to the possession of the handgun.6 The officer must also believe it is impracticable to obtain a search warrant and that “swift measures” are necessary to discover whether the person is wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun.7 If, subsequent to a search, the officer finds that the person is wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun, he or she may demand evidence that the person is lawfully permitted to do so. If no evidence is produced, the officer may seize the handgun and arrest the person.8

After law enforcement seizes a handgun, the officers must attempt to locate the owner.9 Law enforcement has discretion to either return the handgun to the owner or notify the owner that he or she may apply within 30 days for a review to determine whether the owner: 1) “knew or should have known that the handgun was worn, carried, transported, or used” in violation of state laws governing the carrying and transporting of handguns; and 2) is legally permitted to possess the handgun.10

Under Maryland law, if a mental health facility hearing officer enters an order for involuntary commitment and the hearing officer determines that the individual cannot safely possess a firearm based on credible evidence of dangerousness to others, the hearing officer must order the individual who is subject to the involuntary commitment to: 1) surrender any firearms in the individual’s possession to law enforcement; and 2) refrain from purchasing a firearm unless specifically granted relief.11

Machine Guns

Maryland provides that a court may issue a warrant to search for and seize a machine gun that is possessed in violation of state law regulating possession of machine guns.12

 

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-601 et seq., as added by Md. H.B. 1302 (2018). ⤴︎
  2. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-135. See also Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-304. ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-201(1). ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-201(2)(ii). ⤴︎
  5. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-201. ⤴︎
  6. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-206(a)(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-206(b). ⤴︎
  9. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-203(a). ⤴︎
  10. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-203(a)(2), (3), (b). If the owner of a seized handgun timely requests a review, law enforcement must informally review whether the owner knew or should have known of the unlawful use of the handgun. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-204. If the review results in a decision favorable to the owner, law enforcement must return the handgun to the owner if he or she is legally permitted to possess it. If the handgun is needed as evidence in a criminal case or investigation, it must be returned promptly when the case or investigation ends. If the informal review results in an unfavorable conclusion for the owner, within 30 days of notification of such determination the owner may petition for review by the District Court. Id. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 13-205 for information on seized handguns in criminal cases. ⤴︎
  11. Md. Code Ann., Health, Gen. § 10-632. ⤴︎
  12. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-402(c). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Massachusetts

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

General Relinquishment Requirements

Under Massachusetts law, local FID card licensing authorities must revoke a person’s FID card following the occurrence of any event that renders the cardholder prohibited from possessing firearms.1 Upon receipt of the written notice of revocation from the licensing authority, the prohibited person must “without delay” deliver or surrender all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to the licensing authority where he or she resides.2

After taking possession of those firearms, the licensing authority may transfer possession of the weapons to a licensed firearms dealer for storage purposes. The dealer must issue a receipt to the prohibited person, who is liable to the dealer for reasonable storage charges. Through the dealer, the prohibited person may then transfer any relinquished firearms to a person lawfully permitted to purchase or take possession of the weapon. After a year in storage, or 90 days of unpaid storage charges, relinquished firearms must be sold at public auction by the state police. After deduction and payment for storage charges and all costs associated with the surrender and transfer of the firearms, any surplus proceeds must be immediately returned to the prohibited person.3

Since 2014, Massachusetts law has also provided a standard process for law enforcement agencies to petition a court to seek the denial or suspension of a FID card from a person who is “unsuitable” to possess firearms because they are a public safety risk. For more information about this process, see the Massachusetts Licensing of Gun Owners section.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

For information regarding relinquishment of firearms from abusers subject to domestic violence protective orders in Massachusetts, see the Domestic Violence & Firearms in Massachusetts section.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2018, Massachusetts enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, to authorize a person’s family members,  household members, and current or former dating partners, as well as the law enforcement FID Card licensing authority in the jurisdiction where the person resides, to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.4

In order to obtain an ERPO, the petitioner must file a petition with a court under oath, which does the following:5

  • States any relevant facts supporting the petition;
  • Identifies the reasons why the petitioner believes the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by having in the respondent’s control, ownership or possession a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, weapon or ammunition;
  • Identifies the number, types and locations of any firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, weapons or ammunition the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s current control, ownership or possession;
  • Identifies whether there is an abuse prevention order pursuant to chapter 209A, a harassment prevention order pursuant to chapter 258E or an order similar to an abuse prevention or harassment prevention order issued by another jurisdiction in effect against the respondent; and
  • Identifies whether there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition or other legal action between the parties to the petition.

In most cases, the court is required to provide notice of a hearing to the respondent and hold the hearing within 10 days of receiving the ERPO petition.6

If, after the hearing, the judge concludes by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by having control, ownership or possession a firearm or ammunition, the court will issue an ERPO Order prohibiting the respondent from possessing or receiving firearms for the duration of the order.7

If the court issues an ERPO, it must also order the respondent to relinquish any licenses to carry firearms or FID card, and all firearms and ammunition that the respondent controls, owns or possesses, to the licensing authority of the municipality where the respondent resides. ((Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(d).)) The clerk magistrate of the court will also notify the local licensing authority where the respondent resides that an ERPO has been issued, and the licensing authority must immediately suspend the respondent’s license to carry firearms or FID card and immediately notify the respondent of said suspension.8 The local licensing authority will also file receipts with the court verifying that the respondent properly relinquished his or her firearms.9

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency ERPO, prior to providing notice and a hearing, if the court finds reasonable cause to conclude that the respondent poses a risk of causing bodily injury to self or others by being in possession of a license to carry firearms or FID card or having in control, ownership or possession a firearm or ammunition.10 The emergency ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 10 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.

Upon termination of the ERPO, the licensing authority holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.11

Massachusetts makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with an intent to harass the respondent.12

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

 

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B. ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129D. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131R. This law defines eligible petitioners to include a person’s “family or household member, or the licensing authority of the municipality where the respondent resides, related by blood or present marriage to the respondent, or a person who shares a common dwelling with the respondent.” “Family or household member” is defined to mean a person who: (i) is or was married to the respondent; (ii) is or was residing with the respondent in the same household; (iii) is or was related by blood or marriage to the respondent; (iv) has or is having a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; (v) is or has been in a substantive dating relationship with the respondent; or (vi) is or has been engaged to the respondent.” Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 121. ⤴︎
  5. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131R(b). ⤴︎
  6. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S. ⤴︎
  7. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(c). ⤴︎
  8. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(f). ⤴︎
  9. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(g). ⤴︎
  10. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131T. ⤴︎
  11. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131S(i). ⤴︎
  12. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140 § 131V. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Minnesota

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

See the Domestic Violence & Firearms in Minnesota  section for information about disarming domestic abusers.

Defendants in Cases of Crimes Against the Person

For the release of a defendant pending trial or hearing in cases involving crimes against the person, a judge may order as a condition of release that the person surrender to local law enforcement any firearms owned or possessed by the person, and the defendant may not live in a residence where others possess firearms.1

Any firearm surrendered will be inventoried and retained by local law enforcement and must be returned to the owner upon his or her acquittal, when charges are dismissed, or if no charges are filed. If the gun owner is convicted, the firearm must be returned when the court orders the return or when the person is discharged from probation and has his or her civil rights restored.2

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 629.715, subd. 2. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Missouri

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For persons convicted for committing or attempting to commit a felony in which a firearm is used in any manner, Missouri law authorizes, but does not require, the convicting court to order the confiscation and disposal, or sale or trade to a licensed firearms dealer, of any firearms or ammunition used in the commission of the crime or found in the possession or immediate control of the defendant at the time of his or her arrest.1

Missouri has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from individuals prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.095. The proceeds of any sale or gains from trade shall be the property of the police department or sheriff’s department responsible for the defendant’s arrest or the confiscation of the firearms and ammunition. Id. If the firearms or ammunition are not the property of the convicted felon, they shall be returned to their rightful owner if he or she is known and was not a participant in the crime. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Montana

Domestic Violence Incidents

Montana law requires a peace officer responding to a call about a partner or family member assault to seize a weapon used or threatened to be used in the alleged assault.1 See the Montana Domestic Violence & Firearms section for further information.

Montana has no other laws requiring the surrender or removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Mont. Code Ann. § 46-6-603(1). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Nebraska

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Nebraska law states that any firearm in the possession of a person who is violating Nebraska’s minimum age laws “shall be confiscated by a peace officer or other authorized law enforcement officer,” and “held by the agency employing such officer until it no longer is required as evidence.”1 Nebraska has no other laws requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1204.02. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Nevada

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2019, Nevada enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.1 The law, called an order for protection against high-risk behavior, also referred to as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, or family or household member to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order.

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to seven days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.2

The petitioner can submit a request to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.3

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Relinquishment Of Firearms By People Convicted Of Firearm-prohibiting Crimes

Under Nevada law, if a prohibited person is convicted of a crime, the court in which the person is convicted must order the person to surrender any firearm that the person owns or possesses, to a designated law enforcement agency, a person designated by court order or a licensed firearm dealer.4 The person must, within 24 hours of service of the order:

  • Surrender any firearm that the person owns or possesses to the appropriate local law enforcement agency designated by the court (the agency must provide the person with a receipt including a description and serial number of the firearm surrendered, this receipt must be presented to the court within 3 days);
  • Surrender any firearm that the person owns or possesses to a person designated by the court  (within 3 days, the person surrendering his or her firearms in this manner must provide to the court and the appropriate local law enforcement agency the name and address of the person designated in the order and a written description and serial number of each firearm surrendered to such person);
  • Sell or transfer any firearm the person owns or possesses to a licensed firearm dealer (the dealer shall provide the person with a receipt which includes a description and serial number of each firearm sold or transferred and the within three days the person must provide the receipt to the court and appropriate local law enforcement agency); or
  • Submit an affidavit informing the court that he or she does not own or possess any firearm and acknowledging that failure to surrender, sell or transfer any firearm he or she owns or possesses is a violation of the order and of Nevada law.5

If there is probable cause to believe that the person has not surrendered, sold or transferred any firearm that the person owns or possesses within 24 hours after service of the court order, then the court may issue and deliver to any law enforcement officer a search warrant authorizing the law enforcement officer to enter and search any place where there is probable cause to believe any firearm is located and seize the firearm.6

See the Nevada Domestic Violence & Firearms section for further information about how Nevada law disarms persons who have been convicted of domestic violence or who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order.

Notes
  1. 2019 NV AB 291. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.361. ⤴︎
  5. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.361. ⤴︎
  6. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.361(5). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in New Hampshire

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New Hampshire has no law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them, except when a court issues a domestic violence protective order. For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in New Hampshire.

Disarming Prohibited People in New Jersey

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Disarming Domestic Abusers

In early 2017, New Jersey enacted a law that requires certain domestic abusers to surrender their firearms and permits. As of August 1, 2017, individuals convicted of a crime or offense involving domestic violence will be required to arrange for the immediate surrender to a law enforcement officer of any firearm that has not already been seized or surrendered and any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun possessed by the defendant. Within five days of the conviction order, the defendant may arrange to sell any surrendered firearm to a licensed firearms dealer. Within ten days of the entry of the order, the dealer must take possession of that purchased firearm from the law enforcement agency to which the firearms were surrendered. Upon conviction, any card or permit issued to the defendant shall be deemed immediately revoked.

A law enforcement officer accepting a surrendered firearm shall provide the defendant with a receipt, and the defendant must provide a copy of the receipt to the prosecuting attorney within 48 hours of service of the order. The defendant must also attest under penalty of perjury that any firearms he or she owned or possessed at the time of the order have been transferred and that the defendant currently does not possess any firearms. The defendant alternatively may attest under penalty that he did not own or possess a firearm at the time of the order and currently does not possess a firearm. If the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, finds probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender any firearm, card, or permit, the court may order a search for and removal of these items at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe these items are located.1

The 2017 law also creates a process for disarming people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. As of August 1, 2017, individuals subject to temporary restraining orders that specifically prohibit the respondent from possessing firearms, or restraining orders issued after a hearing on the merits, must dispose of their firearms according to the following procedures: A law enforcement officer shall accompany the individual, or proceed without the individual if necessary, to any place where he or she stores firearms. The officer shall take custody of the firearms.2

Any person whose firearm has been seized and not returned will be denied any permit to purchase a handgun or Firearms Purchaser Identification Card.3

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, New Jersey passed an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family and household members and law enforcement officers– to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis.4 If the court determines that the person (known as a “respondent”) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others, it will issue an order prohibiting the respondent from purchasing or possessing guns for one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.5 New Jerseys’s law goes into effect on September 1, 2019. Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Ineligible Firearms Purchaser Identification Card Holders

A Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) is valid for the purchase of multiple long guns until a holder becomes subject to any of the prohibited categories under New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:58-3c.6 If an FPIC holder becomes ineligible, his or her FPIC automatically becomes void and the holder must return it within five days to the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. Failure to return the FPIC in this manner subjects the ineligible holder to criminal liability. Moreover, an FPIC may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county where it was issued, after notice and a hearing, if the court finds the holder ineligible to purchase or possess firearms. The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality, or any citizen may apply to the court for revocation of a FPIC.7

Persons Reported by Licensed Mental Health Practitioners

Under certain circumstances, licensed mental health practitioners are required to take actions to prevent harm by patients who make specific, credible threats of physical violence against reasonably identifiable persons including notifying law enforcement of the threat. ((N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:62A-16(b).)) Upon receipt of the information, law enforcement shall use that information to ascertain whether the patient has been issued a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or any other permit or license authorizing possession of a firearm. If so, or if there is information indicating that the patient otherwise may have access to a firearm, law enforcement may use the information to determine whether the patient has become subject to a firearms prohibition. See Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey to learn more about which categories of people are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms in New Jersey.

If law enforcement determines that the patient is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, any identification card or permit issued to the patient shall be void and subject to revocation by the Superior Court. If the court confirms that the patient is prohibited from possessing firearms and revokes the patient’s firearms identification card, the court may order the patient to surrender to the county prosecutor any firearm owned by or accessible to the patient and order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms.8

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-27(c)(1), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:25-28(j), effective August 1, 2017; 2C:25-29(b), effective August 1, 2017. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(8). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. §  2C:58-20 et seq. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-26(b). ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:62A-16(e). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in New Mexico

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In New Mexico, a handgun possessed or transported by a person under age 19, in violation of state law prohibiting the knowingly possessing or transporting a handgun,1 is subject to seizure and forfeiture by law enforcement.2

New Mexico has no other laws requiring the surrender or removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. See N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-2.2. ⤴︎
  2. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-2.3. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in New York

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New York allows a prohibited individual to voluntarily surrender firearms to a designated local law enforcement agency with immunity from the charge of illegal firearm possession.1

New York law declares any firearm unlawfully possessed to be a nuisance,2 and sets out the procedure that must be used if such a firearm comes into the possession of any police officer or peace officer.3

A revocation of a firearms license occurs if the licensee, at any time, becomes ineligible to receive a license under New York law. An official revoking a license must “notify immediately the duly constituted police authorities of the locality,” and must give written notice to the executive department of the division of state police.4

Relinquishment of Firearms by People Convicted of Firearm-Prohibiting Crimes

New York law states that the conviction of a firearms licensee for a felony or “serious offense” operates as a revocation of the license. Upon a conviction for such an offense, the convicting court must also order the defendant to surrender all firearms, and inform the relevant law enforcement authorities of the order.5 Upon receiving the surrendered firearms, the law enforcement authority must inform the court of the surrender.6

Where a defendant is convicted of an offense which would require the seizure of firearms or the revocation of a firearms license, the judge pronouncing the sentence must demand surrender of any such license and of all firearms.7

Relinquishment of Firearms by People with Severe Mental Health Impairments

New York law requires mental health professionals to make a report to law enforcement authorities if an individual they are treating is, in their judgment, likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to themselves or to others. The Department of Criminal Justice Services, when it determines that any person named in such a report possesses a license to carry a firearm, should inform “the appropriate licensing official” who must then issue an order to suspend or revoke the license.8

Where a defendant is found (by verdict or plea) to be not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect or to be “incapacitated” as defined by New York law, the court must revoke the defendant’s firearm license and inquire about the existence and location of any firearms in the defendant’s possession. The court must direct the surrender of any such firearms.9

Extreme Risk Protective Orders

In 2019, New York enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. The law, called an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) law, allows a law enforcement officer, family or household member, or school administrator to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others.10 If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order. An ERPO may also order law enforcement to search for guns in the respondent’s possession.11

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the individual subject to the ERPO. This order can last up to six days, before a hearing is held to determine whether a year-long order is appropriate.12

The respondent can submit one request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.13

Anyone who resides with someone subject to an ERPO is required to store their firearms securely.14

Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protective Orders.

Surrender of Firearms Upon Issuance of a Domestic Violence Protective Order

Temporary Protective Order

Whenever a family court issues a temporary protective order, the court must suspend the respondent’s license, declare the respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, when the court has good cause to believe that:

  1.  The respondent has a prior conviction of any “violent felony offense”;
  2. The defendant was previously found to have willfully violated a protective order and the violation involved the infliction of physical injury, the threatened use of a deadly weapon, or the commission of a “violent felony offense”; or
  3. The respondent has a conviction for stalking.

The court must also suspend respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protective order.15

Protective Order

Whenever a family court issues a protective order, the court must revoke the respondent’s license, declare the respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, when the court finds that the conduct which resulted in the issuance of the protective order involved:

  1. The infliction of physical injury;
  2. The use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; or
  3. Behavior constituting any “violent felony offense.”

The court must also suspend or revoke respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protection order.16

Failure to Obey Protective Order or Temporary Protective Order

Whenever a respondent is found to have willfully failed to obey a protective order or temporary protective order, the court shall revoke any existing firearms license possessed by respondent, declare the respondent ineligible for such a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, where the willful violation of the order involved:

  1. The infliction of physical injury;
  2. The use or threatened use of a deadly weapon;
  3. Behavior constituting any “violent felony offense”; or
  4. Behavior constituting stalking.

The court must also suspend or revoke respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protection order.17

Mandatory Court Determination

When a protective order or temporary protective order is issued or when such orders are violated, the court must make a determination regarding the suspension or revocation of a license to carry or possess a firearm, ineligibility to obtain such a license, and the surrender of firearms already possessed.18

License Suspension

Any order suspending a firearms license that is issued in relation to a protective order or temporary protective order will remain in effect for the duration of the protective order, unless modified by the court.19

Order to Surrender Firearms

When a domestic violence order to surrender firearms has been issued, the temporary order of protection or order of protection must specify the place, date and time for the firearms to be surrendered and, to the extent possible, and describe the firearms to be surrendered along with instructions to the receiving authority to notify the court immediately upon surrender. The order must also state whether the firearm license has been suspended, revoked, or that the person subject to the order is ineligible.20

If a respondent promptly surrenders a firearm pursuant to a court order, it is considered a voluntary surrender and the respondent may arrange for the transfer or sale of the firearm to a licensed dealer within a year of surrender. After a year, the firearm is declared a nuisance and can be disposed of by the law enforcement authority who received it.21

Notification

The court that declares a protective order respondent ineligible for a firearms license, revokes or suspends a respondent’s license, or orders the surrender of a respondent’s firearms must notify the police in the relevant locality and give written notice to the state police. The court must notify the statewide registry of orders of protection.22

Right to Hearing

The respondent has a right to a hearing before any revocation, suspension, ineligibility or surrender of firearms is ordered. When an order is issued prior to a hearing, the respondent must receive a hearing within two weeks of the date of the order.23

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.20(f). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05(1). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05. ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11)(a). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 370.25. ⤴︎
  6. Id. 370.25(2). ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 380.96. ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11)(b). ⤴︎
  9. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 330.20(2-a). ⤴︎
  10. NY S 2451/ A 2689. Effective August 24, 2019. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Id. ⤴︎
  14. Id. ⤴︎
  15. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(1)(b). ⤴︎
  16. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(2)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(2)(b). ⤴︎
  17. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(3)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(3)(b). ⤴︎
  18. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act §§ 446-a, 552, 656-a, 780-a; 1056-a; N.Y Dom. Rel. Law § 240(3)(h), 252(9). ⤴︎
  19. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(4). ⤴︎
  20. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.14(5)(a), (6)(a); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(5)(a), (6)(a). ⤴︎
  21. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(5)(b); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(5)(b); N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05(6). ⤴︎
  22. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(6)(b)-(d); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(6)(b)-(d). ⤴︎
  23. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(7); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(7). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in North Carolina

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

North Carolina requires domestic abusers who have become subject to protective orders to surrender their firearms under certain circumstances. For further information, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in North Carolina.

North Carolina law also requires sheriffs to revoke pistol permits (handgun purchase permits) from people who become prohibited from possessing them. 1 As discussed on the Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers in North Carolina page, North Carolina generally requires a “pistol purchase permit” in order to lawfully purchase a handgun. 2 That permit can be used to buy one handgun, or expires after five years if it is never used.3 Under North Carolina law, upon the occurrence of any event that renders an active pistol permit holder ineligible to possess the permit, a sheriff is required to provide written notice that the permit has been revoked.4 If a law enforcement officer serves the notice, the officer may take immediate possession of the permit; if the notice is served by someone else or in some other manner, the permit holder will be required to relinquish the purchase permit to the sheriff within 48 hours after receiving the notice.5

However, North Carolina has no other law requiring the disarming of individuals who have become prohibited from possessing firearms, including those who have had to relinquish their pistol purchase permits.

 

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(h). ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-402 – 14-404. ⤴︎
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-403. ⤴︎
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(h)(1). ⤴︎
  5. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(h)(2). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in North Dakota

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

North Dakota law authorizes a court that is issuing a domestic violence protection order to require the respondent to surrender for safekeeping any firearm in the respondent’s immediate possession or control or subject to the respondent’s immediate control, if the court has probable cause to believe that the respondent is likely to use, display, or threaten to use the firearm in further acts of violence.1 Law enforcement officers are authorized to arrest the respondent if he or she fails to comply.2 For additional information, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in North Dakota.

North Dakota has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-07.1-02(4)(g). ⤴︎
  2. Id.; N.D. Cent. Code § 14-07.1-11. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Oklahoma

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Oklahoma generally has no laws requiring the disarming of prohibited persons.  Oklahoma does require law enforcement to remove any weapon or instrument – including a firearm – when an officer has probable cause to believe the weapon or instrument has been used to commit an act of domestic abuse, but only if the abuser is simultaneously arrested.1

 

 

Notes
  1. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 60.8(A). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Oregon

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In 2017, Oregon enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law that allows family or household members1 and law enforcement officers to petition a civil court for an order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.

In order to obtain an ERPO, the petitioner must file a sworn affidavit alleging that the respondent presents a risk in the near future, including an imminent risk, of suicide or of causing physical injury to another person. In determining whether the respondent poses this risk, the court must consider the following evidence:

  • A history of suicide threats or attempts or acts of violence by the respondent directed against another person;
  • A history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person;
  • A previous conviction for:
    • A violent misdemeanor that would subject someone to a gun prohibition under Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.470;
    • A stalking offense or a similar offense in another jurisdiction;
    • A domestic violence offense;
    • Driving under the influence of intoxicants; or
    • An offense involving cruelty or abuse of animals;
  • Evidence of recent unlawful use of controlled substances;
  • Previous unlawful and reckless use, display or brandishing of a deadly weapon by the respondent;
  • A previous violation by the respondent of a domestic violence order;
  • Evidence of an acquisition or attempted acquisition within the previous 180 days by the respondent of a deadly weapon; and
  • Any additional information the court finds to be reliable, including a statement by the respondent.

If the court determines that the petitioner has met his or her burden by clear and convincing evidence, the court will issue an ERPO that prohibits the respondent from having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a deadly weapon. The court may issue the ERPO on the same day the petition is submitted to the court or on the judicial business day immediately following the day the petition is filed without notice to the respondent.

If the respondent contests the ERPO, he or she has 30 days from being served with the order to request a hearing, and the hearing must occur within 21 days of the request. If the respondent does not request a hearing, the ERPO automatically becomes operative for one year from the date the original order was issued. The respondent may request one hearing to terminate the order during its 12-month effective period. The petitioner may also request a renewal of the order within the 90-period prior to the order’s expiration. If the petitioner requests a renewal of the order, the court will hold a hearing at which the petitioner bears the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent still poses a risk in the near future of suicide or physical injury to others.

After an ERPO is issued, the court must order the respondent to relinquish, within 24 hours, all deadly weapons in his or her custody, control or possession to a law enforcement agency, a gun dealer, or a third party who may lawfully possess the deadly weapons. The respondnet must relinquish any Oregon concealed handgun licenses to law enforcement. If a law enforcement officer is serving the ERPO, he or she must request that the respondent immediately surrender weapons and licenses to the officer. If the respondent indicates an intent to surrender to a gun dealer or third-party, the respondent must identify the dealer or third party to the officer. If the officer takes possession, he or she must issue a receipt to the respondent and file a copy with the court that issued the order.

Upon termination of the ERPO, law enforcement holding any weapons will return the weapons to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.

It is a misdemeanor to file for an ERPO with the intent to harass the respondent or knowing that the information in the petition is false.

For more information about laws similar to the Extreme Risk Protection Order, visit our policy page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Notes
  1. Family or household member means a spouse, intimate partner, mother, father, child or sibling of the respondent, or any person living within the same household as the respondent. 2017 OR SB 719. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Pennsylvania

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

With the exception of persons subject to an active protection from abuse order, Pennsylvania law gives persons prohibited from possessing firearms a “reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days from the date of the imposition” of the firearm prohibition, in which to sell or transfer his or her firearms to another eligible person who is not a member of the prohibited person’s household.1

A policy of the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department provides that anyone under its supervision has 10 days to dispose of a weapon. This policy provides for surrender of firearms to the police department, sale to a licensed firearms dealer, or sale to an eligible person. After the person sells or transfers his or her firearms, he or she is required to provide his or her Probation or Parole officer with a receipt or record of sale.2

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in Pennsylvania.

Notes
  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(a)(1)(i). ⤴︎
  2. First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Adult Probation and Parole Department, Firearms Surrender Policy. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Rhode Island

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In recent years, Rhode Island has passed legislation to create a standard, enforceable process for disarming certain domestic abusers as well as dangerous people subject to extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). Rhode Island has no law requiring firearm relinquishment by other people who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Disarming Domestic Abusers

In 2017, Rhode Island comprehensively strengthened its laws governing firearm relinquishment by people convicted of domestic violence crimes or subject to domestic violence protective orders. See the Rhode Island Domestic Violence and Firearms section for further information about these laws.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2018, Rhode Island also enacted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which authorizes law enforcement agencies to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to one year.1 Law enforcement agencies are now required to file ERPO petitions upon receiving credible information that a person poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm.2

In order to obtain an ERPO, a law enforcement agency must file a petition with the superior court of the county in which the respondent resides3 supported by a written affidavit, signed under oath, regarding specific evidence of the respondent’s dangerousness.4 The agency must also file a sworn affidavit requesting a search warrant for the search of any firearms in the respondent’s possession, custody, or control.5

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter.6 The court may also consider whether a mental health evaluation or substance abuse evaluation is appropriate, and may recommend that the respondent seek such evaluation.7

If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue a one-year ERPO8 that prohibits the respondent from possessing, acquiring, or attempting to acquire any firearms while the order is in effect.9 If law enforcement officers do not execute a warrant to remove the respondent’s firearms, the respondent is required to relinquish his or her firearms to the petitioner law enforcement agency and to relinquish any concealed carry permit to the licensing agency as well.10

In urgent cases, a court may issue an emergency temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing, if the court finds probable cause from specific facts shown by the petition that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others by having custody or control of a firearm, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm.11 If a court issues a temporary ERPO in these emergency cases, it is also directed to issue a search warrant requiring the petitioning law enforcement agency to remove any firearms in the respondent’s possession.12 The temporary ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing on whether to grant a longer ERPO.13

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted14 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended by one year.15

Upon termination of the ERPO, the agency holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.16

Rhode Island makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO or provide information for use in an ERPO knowing the information in the petition to be materially false or with intent to harass the respondent.17

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

 

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-1, et seq. (enacted in 2018 by 2017 RI H 7688 and 2017 RI S 2492. ⤴︎
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(c). ⤴︎
  3. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-2. ⤴︎
  4. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(d), (e). ⤴︎
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-3(b). ⤴︎
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-5(a), (d). ⤴︎
  7. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(e). ⤴︎
  8. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(a). ⤴︎
  9. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.3-3(b), 8-8.3-5(e)(6). ⤴︎
  10. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(e)(6). ⤴︎
  11. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4. ⤴︎
  12. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4(b). ⤴︎
  13. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-4(f). ⤴︎
  14. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(a). ⤴︎
  15. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(c). ⤴︎
  16. (R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-8. ⤴︎
  17. R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-810(c). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in South Carolina

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

South Carolina does not have a law requiring the confiscation of firearms owned by a person when he or she has become prohibited from possessing firearms. However, firearms or ammunition must be confiscated if they were involved in a violation of the prohibition against possession by a person who has been convicted of a violent felony offense.1  Similarly, firearms or ammunition must also be confiscated if they were involved in a violation of the prohibition against possession by a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.2

When a person loses his or her gun eligibility because he or she is adjudicated as a mental defective or is committed to a mental institution, the court must provide to the person or the person’s representative, as appropriate, a written form that conspicuously informs the person or the person’s representative of the prohibition on possession of firearms  or ammunition.3

Disarming Dangerous People by Court Order

South Carolina prohibits handgun possession by any “person who by order of a circuit judge or county court judge of this State has been adjudged unfit to carry or possess a firearm, such adjudication to be made upon application by any police officer, or by any prosecuting officer of this State, or sua sponte, by the court, but a person who is the subject of such an application is entitled to reasonable notice and a proper hearing prior to any such adjudication.”4

Notes
  1. S.C. Code § 16-23-500. ⤴︎
  2. S.C. Code § 23-31-1040. ⤴︎
  3. S.C. Code § 23-31-1040. ⤴︎
  4. S.C. Code § 16-23-30. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Tennessee

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Tennessee law states that any weapon that is possessed, used or sold in violation of the law shall be confiscated by a law enforcement officer and declared to be contraband by a court of record exercising criminal jurisdiction.1

Domestic Violence Convictions

Persons convicted of domestic violence offenses are required to terminate possession of all firearms within 48 hours of the conviction by lawfully selling or transferring their firearms to a third party; such offenders must also file an affidavit with the court attesting that they relinquished all firearms, as required.2

Domestic Violence Orders of Protection

If a domestic violence order of protection is granted in a manner that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), the person subject to that order must lawfully terminate physical possession of all firearms he or she possesses, such as by transferring his or her firearms to a third party who is not prohibited from possessing firearms, within 48 hours of the granting of the order.3 Such respondents must also file an affidavit with the court attesting that they relinquished all firearms, as required, and is prohibited under state law from knowingly failing to surrender to law enforcement or lawfully transfer all firearms.4 Such individuals may re-assume possession of the dispossessed firearm at such time as the order expires or is otherwise no longer in effect.5

 

Notes
  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-1317. ⤴︎
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-111. Specific procedures for relinquishment of firearms are detailed under Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-625. ⤴︎
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-625. ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-625(h)(1), (2). ⤴︎
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-625(a)(2). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Texas

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In 2013, Texas enacted a law authorizing a peace officer who takes certain mentally ill persons into custody because they pose a substantial risk of serious harm to self or others to immediately seize any firearm found in possession of the person.1

The officer who seizes the firearm is required to immediately provide the person a written copy of the receipt for the firearm and a written notice of the procedure for the return of a firearm.2 The law enforcement agency holding the firearm must then, as soon as possible, but not later than the 15th day after the date the person is taken into custody, provide written notice of the procedure for the return of a firearm to the last known address of the person’s closest immediate family member as identified by the person or reasonably identifiable by the law enforcement agency, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.3 The written notice must state the date by which a request for the return of the firearm must be submitted to the law enforcement agency.4 The clerk of the court is required to subsequently advise the law enforcement agency, upon request, whether the person taken into custody was released.5

Not later than the 30th day after the clerk of the court informs the law enforcement agency that the person taken into custody was released, the law enforcement agency must (1)  conduct a background check of state and national criminal history record information to verify whether the person may lawfully possess a firearm under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g); and (2)  provide written notice to the person by certified mail that the firearm may be returned to the person on verification that the person may lawfully possess the firearm.6

If the clerk of the court informs the law enforcement agency that the person taken into custody was ordered to receive inpatient mental health services, the law enforcement agency must provide written notice to the person by certified mail that the person: (1)  is prohibited from owning, possessing, or purchasing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(4); (2) may petition the court that entered the commitment order for relief from the firearms disability; and (3) may dispose of the firearm in the manner provided by Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(f).7

Texas has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 573.001(g).  Under Texas law, a peace officer may take a person into custody without a warrant if the officer: (1)  has reason to believe and does believe that (A)  the person is a person with mental illness; and (B) because of that mental illness there is a substantial risk of serious harm to the person or to others unless the person is immediately restrained; and (2) believes that there is not sufficient time to obtain a warrant before taking the person into custody. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 573.001(a). ⤴︎
  2. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(a). ⤴︎
  3. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(c). ⤴︎
  6. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(d). ⤴︎
  7. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 18.191(e). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in the District of Columbia

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In 2019, the District of Columbia enacted a law that enables certain individuals to petition a court to remove guns from a person in crisis. The law, called an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO), allows a law enforcement officer, family member, dating partner, household member, or mental health professional to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a danger to himself, herself, or others.1 If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO (called a respondent) must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement and will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the duration of the order. A court may also issue a search warrant which directs law enforcement to search for guns, registration certificates, concealed carry licenses, and firearms dealer licenses in the respondent’s possession.2

A temporary ERPO can be obtained without notice to the respondent and, with exceptions, lasts no later than 14 days during which time the court must hold a hearing to determine whether to issue a year-long order.3

The respondent can submit one request during the period of the order to hold a hearing to terminate the order early.4

Read more about Extreme Risk Protective Orders on our policy page.

Other Laws

The District has no other laws specifically requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

A police officer, in the course of a lawful arrest or lawful search, who discovers a dangerous article he or she reasonably believes is a nuisance, must take possession of the article and surrender it to the property clerk of the Metropolitan Police Department.5 A “dangerous article” includes a handgun, machine gun and sawed-off shotgun.6 A dangerous article unlawfully owned, possessed, or carried is a nuisance.7

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2510.01 et seq. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(b), (c). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(a). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4517(b). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Utah

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Utah requires a law enforcement officer who responds to an allegation of domestic violence to confiscate the weapon or weapons involved in an incident of domestic violence.1 See the Utah Domestic Violence & Firearms section for further information.

Utah does not have any other laws mandating the surrender or removal of firearms from persons who have become ineligible to possess them.

In 2012, Utah created an affirmative defense to the charge of transfer of a firearm by a prohibited person that the person transferred the firearm within 10 days of becoming a prohibited person.2

Utah does allow cohabitants3 of a gun owner (“owner cohabitant”) to voluntarily relinquish the owner cohabitant’s firearms to law enforcement if the cohabitant believes that the owner cohabitant or another cohabitant with access to the firearm is an immediate threat to himself or herself or others.4 Law enforcement may hold the firearm for up to 60 days but must return the firearm to the owner cohabitant if he or she requests it prior to the expiration of the 60 day period.5

Notes
  1. Utah Code Ann. § 77-36-2.1(1)(b). ⤴︎
  2. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(7). ⤴︎
  3. Cohabitants are defined as individuals 18 years of age or older residing in the home who is living as if a spouse of the owner cohabitant; is related by blood or marriage to the owner cohabitant; has one or more children in common with the owner cohabitant; or has an interest in the safety and wellbeing of the owner cohabitant. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5c-201(1). ⤴︎
  4. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5c-201(2). ⤴︎
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5c-201(3). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Vermont

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In 2018, Vermont enacted a limited Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which authorizes certain prosecutors—either State’s Attorneys or the Office of the state Attorney General—to petition a court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to six months.1

In order to obtain an ERPO, an eligible petitioner must file a petition with the superior court either in the county where the petitioner is located, the county where the respondent resides, or the county where the events giving rise to the petition have occurred.2  The petition must be supported by a sworn affidavit including specific facts to support the petitioner’s allegations that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to himself or herself or another person by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within the respondent’s custody or control.3

In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter within 14 days after the petition was filed, after providing notice to the respondent.4

If, after the hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses an extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, receiving, or having custody or control of a firearm, the court will issue an ERPO prohibiting the respondent from possessing or acquiring firearms for up to six months.5

In emergency cases, a State’s Attorney or the Attorney General may instead request that the court issue an ex parte temporary ERPO, prior to providing notice and holding a hearing. 6  In such cases, the court will issue an ex parte ERPO if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time the ERPO is requested, the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or by having a firearm within his or her custody or control.7 The temporary ERPO may generally only be in effect for up to 14 days, before the court holds a full hearing “as soon as reasonably possible” within that timeframe regarding whether to grant a longer ERPO.8

Unless the court orders an alternate procedure for relinquishment, people subject to ERPOs are required to relinquish their firearms immediately upon receiving notice of the order, either to a law enforcement agency or a federally licensed firearms dealer.9 The law provides standard procedures for a law enforcement agency, firearms dealer, or court-approved third party to follow while receiving and keeping the respondent’s relinquished firearms.10

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an ERPO be lifted11 and for petitioners to request that the ERPO be renewed and extended by up to six months.12

Vermont makes it a crime to file a petition for an ERPO, or a supporting affidavit, knowing the information in the petition or affidavit is false, or with intent to harass the respondent.13

For more information about ERPO laws, visit our Extreme Risk Protection Orders policy page.

 

Outside the Extreme Risk Protection Order context, Vermont has no other law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4051, et seq. (enacted by 2017 VT S 221). ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4052. ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(c).

    An extreme risk of harm to others may be shown by establishing that:

    (i) the respondent has inflicted or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another; or

    (ii) by his or her threats or actions the respondent has placed others in reasonable fear of physical harm to themselves; or

    (iii) by his or her actions or inactions the respondent has presented a danger to persons in his or her care.

    An extreme risk of harm to himself or herself may be shown by establishing that the respondent has threatened or attempted suicide or serious bodily harm. Id. ⤴︎

  4. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(d). ⤴︎
  5. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4053(e). ⤴︎
  6. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054.  In such cases, the petitioner shall submit an affidavit in support of the motion providing specific facts supporting an allegation that the respondent poses an imminent and extreme risk of causing harm to self or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a dangerous weapon or by having a dangerous weapon within his or her custody or control, and also identifying any dangerous weapons the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s possession, custody, or control. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(a)(2). ⤴︎
  7. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(b). ⤴︎
  8. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4054(d)(1). ⤴︎
  9. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4059(b). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4055(a), (c). ⤴︎
  12. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4055(b), (c). ⤴︎
  13. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4058(b)(2). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Virginia

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Virginia has no law requiring the removal of firearms from, or the surrender of firearms by, persons who have become prohibited from possessing them, although a 2016 makes an allowance for the surrender of firearms by a person who has become subject to a final protective order. See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Virginia for further information.

However, a concealed weapon permittee convicted of an offense that would disqualify that person from obtaining a permit is required to forfeit his permit (but not his firearm) and surrender it to the court that issued it.1 Upon receipt by the Central Criminal Records Exchange of a record of the arrest, conviction or occurrence of any other event that would disqualify a person from obtaining a concealed handgun permit, the Central Criminal Records Exchange must notify the court that issued the permit of the disqualifying arrest, conviction or other event. Upon receipt of such notice of a conviction, the court must revoke the permit and promptly notify the State Police and the person whose permit was revoked of the revocation.2 Notably, many of the events that disqualify an individual from obtaining a concealed weapons permit also disqualify the individual from possessing firearms altogether.

In addition, a concealed weapon permittee who is the subject of a domestic violence protective order must surrender his or her permit to the court entering the order, for the duration of the order.3

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308(J). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Washington

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

In 2016, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved of a law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family members– to petition a court to remove guns from a loved one in crisis.1 The law, called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), allows family members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual (including, as of 2019, a minor2) poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.3 Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Domestic Violence and Other Protective Orders

Courts must order respondents to certain types of protective orders (domestic violence, stalking, harassment, and others) issued after a noticed hearing to immediately surrender firearms and concealed pistol licenses. For more information about disarming individuals subject to these provisions, see Domestic Violence & Firearms in Washington.

Other Alternatives for Disarming

Washington also enables courts to disarm dangerous individuals in other ways. State superior courts and courts of limited jurisdiction may order forfeiture of a firearm proven to be:

  • Found concealed on a person not authorized to carry a concealed pistol;
  • Commercially sold to any person without an application as required by state law;
  • In the possession of a person prohibited from possessing the firearm under state law;
    • In 2018, voters approved a measure that requires the department of licensing to verify annually that people who have acquired pistols or ‘semiautomatic assault rifles’ remain eligible to possess them, and to take steps to ensure anyone found ineligible does not remain in possession of firearms.4
  • In the possession or under the control of a person at the time he or she committed or was arrested for committing a felony or committing a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person who is in any place in which a concealed pistol license is required, and who is under the influence of any drug or intoxicating liquor;
  • In the possession of a person free on bail or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony or for a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person found to have been mentally incompetent while possessing the gun when apprehended or who is thereafter committed under state law;
  • Used or displayed by a person in the violation of a proper written order of a court of general jurisdiction; or
  • Used in the commission of a felony or of a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed.5

Law enforcement officers of the state or of any county or municipality may confiscate a firearm found to be in the possession of a person under any of the circumstances specified above.6

Individuals who have been detained for a 72-hour evaluation and treatment on the grounds that the person presents a likelihood of serious harm are prohibited from possessing guns for six months after the date of detention.7 The detained individual must immediately surrender, for the six-month period, any concealed pistol license and any firearms that he or she possesses or controls to the sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the municipality in which the person is domiciled.8

Surrendered Firearms

Any confiscated firearm may be surrendered only: 1) to the prosecuting attorney for use in subsequent legal proceedings; 2) for disposition according to an order of a court having jurisdiction; or 3) to the owner if the proceedings are dismissed or the court otherwise directs.

In 2015, Washington enacted a law requiring that a law enforcement agency must, before returning a confiscated firearm:

(a) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is the individual from whom the firearm was obtained or an authorized representative of that person;

(b) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is eligible to possess a firearm;

(c) Ensure that the firearm is not otherwise required to be held in custody or otherwise prohibited from being released; and

(d) Ensure that twenty-four hours have elapsed from the time the firearm was obtained by law enforcement.9

This law also provides that a family or household member may request to be notified when a law enforcement agency returns a privately owned firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or to an authorized representative of that person.10 This notification may be made via telephone, email, text message, or another method that allows notification to be provided without unnecessary delay.11 If a family or household member has requested to be notified, a law enforcement agency must:

(a) Provide notice to the family or household member within one business day of verifying that the individual from whom the firearm was obtained is eligible to possess and receive the firearm; and

(b) Hold the firearm in custody for seventy-two hours from the time notification has been provided.12

Once these requirements have been met, the law enforcement agency must release the firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or an authorized representative of that person upon request without unnecessary delay.13

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in Washington. See also the Mental Health Reporting in Washington section for additional court notices restricting the possession of a firearm.

Notes
  1. Rev. Code Wash. § 7.94.030 ⤴︎
  2. Any respondent under the age of eighteen may petition the court to have the court records sealed from public view. ⤴︎
  3. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 7.94.090. ⤴︎
  4. Washington Proposition 1639, effective July 1, 2019. ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(1). ⤴︎
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(4). ⤴︎
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 71.05.182. ⤴︎
  8. Id. at 2(b). ⤴︎
  9. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(1). ⤴︎
  10. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 1. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(3). ⤴︎
  13. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(2). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in West Virginia

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

West Virginia law authorizes an arresting officer to seize all weapons that are possessed in violation of a valid protective order, subject to the requirements of the state and federal Constitutions.1 See the West Virginia Domestic Violence & Firearms section for further information.

Once an individual has been adjudicated as a mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, he or she “shall be duly notified” that they are to immediately surrender any firearms in their ownership or possession; provided, however, that the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge must first make a determination of the appropriate public or private individual or entity to act as conservator for the surrendered property.2

West Virginia does not have any other laws mandating the surrender or removal of firearms.

Notes
  1. W. Va. Code § 48-27-1002(e)(3). ⤴︎
  2. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(a)(4). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited People in Wisconsin

See our Disarming Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Wisconsin state courts that order a person committed for mental health-related treatment must order the person not to possess firearms and order the seizure of any firearm owned by the individual, if the court determines that the person is prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.1 In lieu of gun seizure, the court may designate a person to store the firearm until the order has ended.2

In addition, if a state court: 1) appoints a guardian for an individual; 2) orders protective services for or protective placement of an individual; or 3) orders treatment and services, including involuntary commitment, for an individual incapacitated by alcohol or suffering from alcoholism, the court must determine if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm because he or she has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution under federal law.3 If the person is deemed prohibited, the court must order the person not to possess firearms, and order the seizure of any firearm owned by the individual.4 As an alternative to seizing the firearms, the court may designate a person to store the firearms until the order expires or is canceled by the court.5

Wisconsin law allows individuals in any of these categories to petition a court for an order restoring the person’s eligibility to possess firearms and providing for the return of the seized firearms.

For information about removing firearms from domestic violence protective order defendants, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Wisconsin.

Notes
  1. Wis. Stat. § 51.20(13)(cv)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Wis. Stat. § 51.20(cv)(3). ⤴︎
  3. Wis. Stat. §§ 51.45(13)(i)(1), 54.10(3)(f)(1), 55.12(10)(a). ⤴︎
  4. Wis. Stat. §§ 54.10(3)(f)(1), 55.12(10)(a). ⤴︎
  5. Wis. Stat. §§ 54.10(3)(f)(3), 55.12(10)(c). ⤴︎