As of 2014, residents of Massachusetts are prohibited from owning firearms if they’ve been convicted of any type of domestic violence crime. That being said, no law is currently in place requiring courts to notify those affected by this legislation. If you have been found with a firearm following a domestic violence conviction, it is crucial to consult with an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney immediately. MA takes gun charges seriously, especially when the defendant has a past criminal history.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms to all citizens of the United States, except under certain circumstances. For example, if you are convicted of a felony, you give up your rights under the Second Amendment. In some cases, individuals can restore their civil rights following a felony conviction. But this is rare. You may be prohibited from possessing a firearm if you:
- Were convicted of a juvenile crime.
- Were convicted of a domestic violence crime.
- Are hospitalized for drug addiction or mental illness.
- Have an outstanding warrant.
- Are an illegal alien.
- Are under 18.
Firearms and Protection Orders
In addition to those with domestic violence convictions, MA law also prohibits the purchasing or possessing of firearms by individuals who are subject to a protection order that protects a family or household member, regardless of whether the order is permanent or temporary. Family and household members include:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Someone with whom you live
- Someone with whom you are related by blood or marriage
- Someone with whom you share a child
- Anyone with whom you have, or have had, a serious, intimate relationship
When a temporary or emergency protection order is issued, the defendant may be required to immediately surrender any firearms and ammunition in his or her possession, as well as any license to carry firearms or firearms identification card. However, this requirement doesn’t apply to all protection orders. If the defendant doesn’t present a substantial and immediate likelihood of abuse, this requirement may not apply. If a suspension or surrender order is issued, the law enforcement officer serving the order will take immediate possession of any firearms, ammunition, and licenses.
In MA, if a police officer believes that a family or household member is being abused or is in immediate danger of being abused, he or she is required to take all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of more abuse. However, law enforcement officers are not specifically authorized to remove firearms in this type of situation. A MA criminal defense attorney can determine if your rights were violated during an arrest.
What if the Domestic Violence Charges Against Me Were Dropped?
MA domestic violence laws have undergone some serious changes in the last few years, one of which makes it significantly more difficult to drop charges, even for the alleged victim. If the person who claimed to have been abused later says that the accusation was just a misunderstanding, and that he or she wants to drop the charges, the District Attorney is unlikely to grant this request. In fact, district attorneys who handle these cases are trained to not dismiss these cases, except under rare circumstances. This is why it is so important to have skilled legal representation if you have been charged with domestic violence. If an erroneous charge has resulted in the suspension or revocation of your firearms license, you have 90 days to appeal the action.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If you have been charged with any type of crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you defend your rights. Domestic violence charges are taken seriously in MA, as they should be. But we understand that claims of abuse can sometimes be the result of a jealous or jilted lover. We also understand that humans make mistakes, even bad ones. If a mistake from your past is coming back to haunt you, we will work tirelessly to help you get your life back on track. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.