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Domestic violence and federal gun possession laws

If you are convicted of a felony domestic violence charge, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 bans you from possessing a firearm. The Lautenberg Amendment, which was passed in 1996, bans individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge from possessing a firearm.

The Lautenberg Amendment affects law enforcement in three ways. First, individuals who have shown a propensity for engaging in domestic violence from obtaining or possessing a firearm. Second, it provides a tool that allows law enforcement personnel to remove firearms when certain domestic violence incidents occur. Finally, it will provide federal prosecutors with a tool to use in certain domestic violence situations doesn't work.

If someone has a previous conviction of domestic violence -- before Sept. 30, 1996 -- he or she cannot possess or obtain a firearm. There are limitations on that previous conviction. An example would be when the conviction has been set aside or expunged. If that occurred, then then he or she cannot obtain or possess a firearm.

For those in the police or military, there is no exception. They are no longer able to possess a firearm.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony charge of domestic violence, it is important to understand your rights. You may not possess or obtain a firearm and a local, state or federal law enforcement officer may take possession of any firearms.

During volatile situations, a search warrant may be obtained to immediately remove the firearm. If you have questions about firearm possession when facing such charges, an attorney can provide more information.

Source:, "1117. Restrictions on the Possession of Firearms by Individuals Convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence," accessed Feb. 01, 2017

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