Domestic disturbances are an unfortunate but common occurrence in everyday life. Stress, relationship troubles, misunderstandings, and intoxication can all lead to a domestic disturbance. Allegations of domestic violence carry consequences you may not realize, one of which is regarding federal and state gun laws.
Before we examine the details of how a charge of domestic violence can impact your right to own a gun, it might help to understand how the law defines domestic violence. Under Illinois law, domestic abuse can be claimed by a lot of people, including spouses, former spouses, roommates, parents, children, stepchildren, the person you have a child with, someone you dated or were engaged to.
The law defines abuse as not only physical abuse. It also includes harassment, forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do, and even forcing a child or someone else to watch the abusive act. With such a broad and inclusive definition of domestic violence, you could find yourself charged with the crime without knowing you have committed it. Even worse, a conviction of this crime could severely impact one of your most basic rights to own a firearm if you so choose.
Under federal law, if you have been served with an Order of Protection filed by an alleged domestic violence victim, it becomes a federal offense to possess a gun or ammunition. If you are a member of law enforcement or military and accused of domestic violence and served an Order of Protection, you can still use a gun while on duty, but aren’t allowed to have a gun outside of your official duties. This is not a permanent deprivation of your right to own a firearm, but will remain in effect for as long as the protective order is in effect. There is one exception to this, which involves certain domestic violence charges that are more serious, like bodily harm. Whether a felony or misdemeanor, these more egregious crimes will result in a permanent ban on your right to legally own a gun, even if you are a cop. The only way to change this is to have the conviction set aside.
Gun laws are different in Illinois in that you must have get a Firearm Owner Identification Card before you can own a gun. If you are served with an Order of Protection, you will lose your right to have a gun by either revoking your FOID application or card. You will also have to surrender your firearms to State Police if the court orders you to.
If you have been convicted of domestic violence or battery in the past, you will not be able to get a FOID card. Like under federal law, this permanent ban on gun ownership can only be avoided if you have the conviction set aside. Further, you can have your FOID card revoked or application denied if you have violated a protective order somewhere else within the last 5 years, or if you have ever been convicted of domestic violence in another state.
Whatever the circumstances, trust a qualified Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney to defend your rights in a knowledgeable and discreet manner.