There are generally two federal statutes that relate to possession of a firearm and domestic violence protection orders: possession of a firearm and/or ammunition while subject to a qualifying protection order 18 USC 922(g)(8); and possession of a firearm and/or ammunition after conviction of a domestic violence misdemeanor 18 USC 922 (g)(9). To be prosecuted under federal law or to be rendered a “prohibited possessor” under federal law the protection order must be drafted very carefully.
It is a federal crime to possess a firearm and/or ammunition while subject to a valid qualifying protection order. 18 USC 922(g)(8). The exception to this possession is found at 18 USC 925 which sets forth this restriction does not apply to firearms issued by government agencies to a law enforcement officer or military personnel so long as the individual is on duty.
It is a federal crime to possess a firearm and/or ammunition after a conviction of a qualifying state misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. 18 USC 922(g)(9). Importantly, there is no official use exemption for law enforcement and military personnel as was set forth in 18 USC 922(g)(8) above.
To engage the federal firearms restrictions, the protection order must contain certain language:
- Issued after hearing which the defendant had notice and opportunity to be heard;
- Order must restrain the defendant from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner, or child of such person or engaging in other conduct that would place in intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and the order must include a finding that the defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or child; or the order must explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child that would reasonably expected to cause bodily injury.
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