If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, it may be hard to understand what the law prescribes concerning your right to own a firearm. Our criminal defense law firm weighs in on whether a domestic violence conviction means you need to give up your gun, and how you may get your gun rights restored after you have served your sentence or probation time.
Will I Lose My Gun Rights If I Am Convicted of Domestic Violence in Arizona?
Generally speaking, Arizona laws prohibit individuals charged with a domestic violence felony from owning a firearm if that person is currently serving time in jail or prison, or if that person is currently under probation for that offense. However, federal laws prohibit anyone convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence misdemeanors to own or purchase a firearm.
If law enforcement is called to a residence after a domestic violence complaint and an officer finds a firearm in plain sight, or discovers one after searching the alleged offender, he or she may temporarily apprehend the weapon. Usually, when the officer determines that the situation could turn dangerous or deadly if the gun is not removed, the gun is held by the law enforcement agency that seized it for 72 hours or more.
What Happens If I Have a Protection Order Issued Against Me?
In Arizona, individuals who are the subject of a protective order after a domestic violence charge will likely be prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm if the court finds that a plaintiff is at a high risk of suffering bodily injury or death by the defendant. For the duration of the order, the defendant must also transfer the possession of any firearms to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Federal laws also prohibit those with a domestic violence protection order against them to purchase guns and ammunition or to remain in possession of a firearm. State laws extend the prohibition to both permanent and ex parte protection orders.
What Can I Do to Restore My Gun Rights?
Unlike other civil rights such as the right to vote, you must apply with the court to have your firearm rights restored. This is not a straightforward process, and it is recommended that you consult an attorney to check that you are eligible. At the Naegle Law Firm, we help clients navigate a domestic violence charge and do everything we can to avoid a conviction or secure a positive outcome, so you don’t lose your rights in the first place. We are here to answer your questions — give us a call at (480) 378-9000.