The short answer is no. Second Amendment rights to owning a gun are restricted when it comes to individuals charged with domestic violence. Both state and federal laws prescribe this. Generally speaking, an individual convicted of domestic violence will lose the ability to obtain a firearms purchaser identification card – even if they were convicted of a disorderly person’s offense arising from a domestic violence charge.
When domestic violence allegations are first made, officers must seize any weapons that they believe has a reasonable potential to expose the victim to bodily injury. If an officer apprehends a firearm, they must also seize the accused person’s firearms purchaser identification card (FID) or permit to purchase a handgun. It is important to note that if a gun owner has a firearm seized, they are not allowed to purchase another firearm. Firearm seizures temporarily disqualify an individual from owning or buying a gun until the prosecution returns the original firearm. It is also illegal to possess a firearm without an FID or permit.
If you were charged with domestic violence and had a firearm seized by the prosecution, and charges were dismissed, you are required to wait for the prosecutor to return the gun and your permit to you. Those charged with domestic violence and found guilty of simple or aggravated assault will not receive their firearm back and will permanently lose their ability to purchase or possess a gun, as both Federal and State laws impose harsh restrictions on gun ownership for individuals with a criminal conviction.
In some cases, a domestic violence attorney can help you downgrade your accusations from a simple assault charge to a municipal ordinance violation in exchange for a guilty plea. A municipal ordinance violation does not make an offender ineligible to buy a firearm, unlike a disorderly person’s offense. There is, however, an important exception to this rule.
Even if a domestic violence charge gets downgraded to a municipal ordinance violation, 18 U.S. Code § 922 explains that it is unlawful for anyone to distribute firearms to a person convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Federal law defines a misdemeanor as an offense that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.” This means that even if a person can plead guilty to a municipal ordinance violation rather than a domestic violence charge, federal laws may prevent them from owning a gun.
Being charged with domestic violence in any degree will significantly affect your ability to exercise your 2nd amendment rights and other aspects of your life. This should not be taken lightly and require the advice of a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Jersey City. Suppose you are facing domestic violence charges and want to know your options. In that case, it is important to speak to a Domestic Violence Attorney as soon as possible, and the Law Offices of Keith Hirschorn are ready to assist you. Contact us at 201-798-4024 for a case review.