Are Orders of Protection Which Take Guns Constitutional?
Arizonans in trouble with the law often question how an Order of Protection impacts gun rights. Below, we address this concern, explaining what an Order of Protection actually means and detailing how it impacts an Arizonan’s right to bear arms.
The Order of Protection
An Order of Protection in Arizona is a restraining order issued by the court. The court issues this restraining order after learning that two specific things are true. For one, the court has to find a domestic relationship between the individuals in question, be it a family relationship, a romantic relationship or two individuals living with one another as roommates. The court must also find that a domestic violence act occurred in the past year or that one will likely take place in the days or weeks ahead.
A crime against the individual or his or her property following the establishment of the domestic relationship constitutes a domestic violence act. As an example, disorderly conduct and assault are two of the most common types of domestic violence acts. However, something as extreme as kidnapping also qualifies as a domestic violence action.
The Impact on the Second Amendment
If the court determines there is a threat of violence against the plaintiff, the court has the power to order the accused individual to give those weapons to police officers. An individual served with the Order of Protection is legally empowered to a hearing in which the order is contested. This legal right to a hearing expires at the end of the year at which point the order becomes invalid.
If the court determines there is a legitimate threat of violence after the hearing, the accused individual will be barred from possessing a firearm in accordance with federal law for the year ahead. This is quite the unfortunate truth, especially for those who take pride in being a responsible gun owner and also those who need to possess a gun to earn a living. As an example, a military member, police officer or security guard will not be able to perform the same job after the order of protection is applied.
An Arizona Domestic Violence Lawyer can Make This Situation Easier
Most people are surprised to learn how the Order of Protection impacts gun ownership rights. Even some of those who work in law enforcement are not aware of the letter of this unique law. The bottom line is domestic violence really does have the potential to prevent an individual living in Arizona from owning or possessing firearms of any type. However, there is a silver lining in the form of an Arizona domestic violence attorney.
Those who are charged with a domestic violence offense should not assume they will be found guilty and ultimately be slapped with an Order of Protection that affects gun ownership rights. If you are innocent or only somewhat guilty, your Arizona criminal defense attorney will provide invaluable assistance. This legal practitioner will listen closely as you detail exactly what occurred, develop a criminal defense strategy and do everything within the confines of the law to ensure you maintain your freedom including your right to possess a firearm. The most experienced Arizona criminal defense attorneys develop detailed legal defenses that ensure their clients do not lose their gun rights and also shape the outcome of family court proceedings. Meet with a savvy criminal defense attorney for a confidential consultation and you will rest easy knowing you have done your part to safeguard your freedom to own firearms after an illegitimate allegation of domestic violence.