A domestic violence protective order, also called a restraining order or a 209A, has many implications, especially for firearms owners. Massachusetts has some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country, and a domestic violence allegation may mean you are unable to keep or obtain weapons.

The reasoning behind restricting gun access after abuse allegations

The right to own and use firearms is a dearly held right for most Americans. Any restrictions on this Constitutional right need to be backed by a pressing need and a very serious argument. For Massachusetts, this argument lies in extensive studies on the relationship between abuse and firearms. Here’s what we know:

  • In domestic violence cases where both parties are in a relationship (intimate partners), the chances of a homicide increase substantially if there is a gun in the home.
  • Similarly, both the accused and the alleged victim are at a much higher risk for suicide when a gun is present.
  • Domestic violence incidents precede almost 20% of all mass shootings.

These facts are all in addition to the increased risk police officers, social workers and other welfare officers face during abuse intervention.

How this affects licensure and ownership

As long as there is an underlying domestic violence or protection order in place, the police have the right to confiscate your weapons and to deny you access to a license to own a firearm. Furthermore, the law also says that if you or your loved one is convicted of a domestic violence offense, you may no longer keep ammunition or firearms indefinitely, even if you are active in the military or a police officer.

Your rights are at-stake. If you have concerns, you should reach out to an attorney quickly because the courts will not hesitate.