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Domestic Violence: Firearms

Firearms and the Violence Against Women Act

Under the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), it is illegal for individuals who have been convicted of a domestic-violence related incident -- or who have an order of protection against them -- to possess a firearm. Specifically, federal domestic violence firearms law prohibits the shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition. Military and law enforcement personnel are not exempt from this law, even if they carry weapons when they are on duty. Questions about this policy should be directed to local branches of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Firearms and Restraining Orders

Under federal domestic violence firearms laws, it is illegal for a person to possess a firearm while subject to a court order restraining such a person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner. It is also illegal to transfer a firearm to a person subject to a court order that restrains such a person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner.

Firearms and Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions

As of September 30, 1996, a federal domestic violence firearms law makes it illegal to possess a firearm after conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This prohibition applies to persons convicted of such misdemeanors at any time, even if the conviction occurred prior to the new law's effective date. Further, The Gun Control Act of 1994, which was amended in 1996, also makes it illegal to possess a firearm and/or ammunition if the individual is subject to an order of protection or if the individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic assault.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified family law attorney to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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