Can I Own A Firearm if I Was Convicted of Domestic Violence?

Although Ohio does not have a specific law that prohibits an individual convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm, federal law does. Two separate U.S. statutes make it illegal for someone involved in a domestic violence matter to ship, transport, possess, or purchase a gun. Because the state receives money through the Violence Against Women Act, Ohio courts are required to provide written or verbal notification to individuals subject to these federal laws.

Prohibitions Against Individuals Subject to a Qualifying Protection Order

Under 18 USC § 922(g)(8), if you have a qualifying protection order issued against you and the protected individual is your intimate partner or a child you have with that partner, you cannot own, purchase, or transport a firearm.

Under Ohio law, a qualifying protection order includes the following:

  • Domestic violence temporary protection order
  • Domestic violence civil protection order
  • Civil stalking and sexually oriented offenses protection order

Federal and state laws have slight differences in terms of what constitutes an intimate partner or family member. As such, the Ohio Supreme Court reconciled the definitions to determine which individuals must receive notification of a firearm disability.

According to the court, an intimate partner or family member is defined as:

  • The person’s current or former spouse, or an individual living as their spouse
  • The person’s child
  • The child of the person’s current or former spouse, or the child of an individual living as the person’s spouse
  • The other natural parent of the person’s child

You are prohibited from possessing a gun for as long as the protection order is in place. After the order has expired, you must file a motion with the court to have your rights restored. Before returning your firearm, law enforcement will conduct a background check to ensure nothing else prevents you from having a gun.

Prohibitions Against Individuals Convicted of Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

According to 18 USC § 922(g)(9), if a person was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, it is unlawful for them to transport, ship, own, or possess a firearm.

According to 18 USC § 921(a)(33)(A), domestic violence is defined as a crime that:

  • Is recognized as a misdemeanor under state, federal, or tribal law
  • Involves using or attempting to use force or threats against a person the individual has an intimate partnership or domestic relationship with

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