By Bryan Boender, Attorney at Law

Domestic Violence and Your Gun Rights

A domestic violence criminal misdemeanor conviction will result in the loss of your right to possess firearms or ammunition. A felony conviction of any kind will also result in a loss of your right to possess firearms or ammunition. These gun bans provide criminal penalties under both federal and Oregon state law for possession of firearms or ammunition by those with domestic violence criminal convictions.

If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, your lawyer must advise you on the collateral consequences of a conviction, including the loss of your right to possess firearms.

The Federal Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban

The federal criminal code at 18 U.S.C. § 922 provides that it is a federal felony offense for a convicted felon or a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess any firearm or ammunition. Section 922 also bans felons from possessing firearms or ammunition. Also known as the “Lautenberg Amendment,” this prohibition on gun ownership for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions applies to any “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under Federal, State, or Tribal law. See 18 U.S.C. 921.

Your lawyer should advise you on whether your potential or prior convictions fall under the gun ban for individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.

The Oregon Domestic Violence Firearms Surrender Law

The Oregon criminal code at ORS 166.255 establishes a permanent ban on possessing firearms or ammunition by those convicted of a “qualifying misdemeanor.” The law defines a qualifying misdemeanor as “a misdemeanor that has, as an element of the offense, the use or attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon.”

In addition to Oregon’s domestic violence gun ban, ORS 166.256 provides that the courts shall order a person to relinquish their firearms or ammunition. The law also requires newly convicted persons to surrender their firearms within 24 hours pursuant to the court’s order. A person must file a declaration under penalty of perjury that states whether they possessed any firearms at the time the order was entered, transferred their firearms or ammunition, or asserts their constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Your lawyer must advise you on whether your conviction falls under ORS 166.255. You should seek legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer on completing the Declaration of Firearms Surrender because you could face additional criminal penalties.

Domestic violence charges are serious offenses that have far reaching consequences. In some circumstances, you could face a Measure 11 prison sentence in addition to the loss of your rights own or possess firearms.