Domestic Violence and Firearms

Under the 1994 VAWA Act, 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 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 Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Office.

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 (18 U.S.C. 922 (g) [8]). 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 (18 U.S.C. 922 (d) [8]).

As of September 30, 1996, it is 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 (18 U.S.C. 922, (g) [9]).

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.


Inside Domestic Violence and Firearms