The criminal legal system uses its full authority to take guns away from abusers and ensures abusers surrender their guns and ammunition if the law says they can’t have firearms.
This Community Strategy focuses on criminal domestic violence cases, and challenges communities to take every available opportunity during the criminal process to address the threat posed by offenders’ access to firearms.
Despite differences in the criminal processes employed by communities around the country and in the legal authority granted to the professionals involved in responding to domestic violence crimes, all communities can develop and implement effective processes to identify cases in which offenders’ access to firearms presents safety concerns and to address those concerns by disarming offenders and preventing them from obtaining new firearms.
In addition to enforcing state and Tribal firearms prohibitions, communities should take steps to facilitate enforcement of the federal firearm prohibition imposed upon individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, found at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), especially in the absence of an analogous prohibition in their state or Tribal law. Learn more.
Each of the common steps of criminal domestic violence cases, listed below, provides opportunities for the legal system to learn about and respond to offenders’ use of and access to firearms. Click on a step to learn about suggested policies and practices, which may be adapted to the unique characteristics and needs of your community. The Safer Families, Safer Communities Project is available to assist you with this effort.
- 911 Call and Initial Response by Law Enforcement
- Pre-Trial Hearings: Initial Appearance and Preliminary Hearing
- Pre-trial Negotiations and Plea
- Trial, Conviction, and Sentencing
- Surrender and Seizure Process, Including Compliance Monitoring
- Storage of Firearms
- Third-Party Transfer of Firearms
- Return of Firearms
See the Community Strategies in Action
In 2009, Maryland enacted a law requiring a judge to order firearms confiscated from people who have final protective orders filed against them.Read More
Dallas County, Texas, is known for being one of the most populated counties in Texas and a statewide leader on combating domestic violence. However, the county lagged behind in its efforts to…Read More