Protection Orders & Your Right to Own Firearms
July 27, 2022
If you’re involved in an abusive relationship and you fear for your safety, you can petition the court for a protection order against the person with whom you are in the relationship. The protection order will spell out the actions that are forbidden for the person against whom you are seeking protection.
Likewise, if you are the party being ordered to be restrained from certain actions and activities, you may want to know which rights you still retain outside of the protection order and its restrictions. For instance, can you still possess firearms? The petitioner will no doubt have the same question.
In many states, a protection order will automatically compel the person being restrained from owning guns, but in Michigan, the judge will decide whether to bar the ownership of firearms during the period of the protection order.
In many circumstances, federal law may also step in to mandate that firearms be banned during a protection order.
Whether you’re the petitioner or the person being served the protection order (called the respondent or defendant), if you have questions about a current or potential protection order, contact me at Redmond Law Group. I can advise you on both protection orders and gun rights under protection orders. My firm proudly serves clients in and around Troy, Michigan, and throughout Oakland and Macomb counties.
Michigan Protective Order Legislation
The state’s Revised Judicature Act of 1961 governs protection orders in the state. It first lists individuals against whom a protection order can be sought: “a spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, or an individual residing or having resided in the same household as the petitioner.”
It then lists 15 actions that can be enjoined or restrained, including but not limited to entering the premises, assaulting, threatening to kill, removing minor children, and purchasing or possessing a firearm.
Other prohibited actions include:
Interfering with you at your job or at school
Intentionally causing you mental distress
Controlling you by threatening to harm or harming an animal you own, or taking the animal from you
And a catchall: any other act or behavior that interferes with your personal freedom or makes you reasonably afraid of violence
As mentioned earlier, however, the judge in the protection order hearing is at their discretion whether to order a gun ban – that is, to have the restrained individual’s guns taken away.
Even if the judge does not order a gun ban, that person cannot, while on the protection order, obtain a concealed weapon permit. Also, if there is domestic violence involved, once a charge is filed for domestic violence, the offender can no longer possess firearms.
Federal Law on Guns During Protective Orders
Federal law, in many, if not most cases, may override the judge. Generally, the federal firearms prohibition is contingent upon three factors:
Must be an intimate partner:
The aggressor, or respondent/defendant, of the protection order must be an intimate partner of the petitioner, namely, a spouse or former spouse; a cohabitant or former cohabitant who was involved in a sexual relationship; or a person who had a child with the petitioner whether they ever married or cohabitated.
Order restrains future conduct:
The protection order must restrain the defendant from harassing, stalking, or threatening the intimate partner, child, or child of the intimate partner’s current partner. The order also must restrain the defendant from conduct that would place the intimate partner or child in reasonable fear of bodily injury.
Credible threat of physical force:
The order also finds the defendant poses a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child, or the order prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child.
Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Guidance
Whether you need to file a petition for a protection order, or you’re the respondent to such a petition, you need to seek experienced legal advice to guide you through the legal options in front of you. If you’re the petitioner, you may need to press the case for a gun prohibition based on your knowledge of the respondent’s ownership of firearms. If you’re the respondent, you will need help in navigating the court system to protect your rights, including those of gun ownership.
That’s why you should rely on my legal experience and resources when it comes to protection orders and the rights of both petitioner and respondent. Contact me immediately at Redmond Law Group. I proudly serve clients in and around Troy, Michigan, and in the counties of Oakland and Macomb.