Domestic violence or abuse can escalate quickly, leading to life-threatening situations. In Texas, protective orders serve as a legal document to protect domestic violence victims. However, there is a direct link between protective orders and firearm possession that every Texan must understand. In this blog post, we will explore protective orders, how they relate to firearm possession, and why it is crucial to address this matter.
Protective orders are issued by a court to protect someone from harm or threats. These orders are often issued for people in abusive or violent relationships. They prohibit an abuser from contacting the victim and prevent them from coming within a specific radius. However, the relationship between protective orders and firearm possession is often complex. Many abusers possess firearms and often use them to threaten, intimidate, or harm their victims.
The Federal Law prohibits anyone subject to a protective order from possessing a firearm under the Lautenberg Amendment. Anyone guilty of violating this law could face a prison term of up to ten years, a hefty fine, or both. In Texas, the law prohibits a person from owning a firearm if they have been found guilty of family violence, stalking, or any other felony. This ban generally applies for five years after the arrest or the completion of the sentence.
Texas law requires judges to prohibit firearm possession for anyone subject to a protective order. This prohibition includes surrendering their firearms to the local law enforcement agency or selling them to a licensed dealer. Furthermore, the court can also order that a defendant undergoes a psychological evaluation to ascertain the safety and suitability of firearm possession.
Failure to follow these directives can lead to severe consequences. A protective order is a legally binding document, and any violation of the court’s directives can lead to charges of contempt, which can result in fines and imprisonment.
In the United States, over one-third of women and one-fourth of men experience violence at the hands of their intimate partner. Domestic violence is a serious problem; unfortunately, it often escalates when the victim attempts to leave the relationship. Protective orders or restraining orders are court-issued documents that aim to protect victims of domestic violence by placing restrictions on the accused abuser. However, these protective orders may not always prevent abuse if the abuser possesses a firearm.
In Texas, a person subject to a protective order is prohibited from owning, possessing, or purchasing firearms. However, this restriction only applies if the protective order meets certain criteria:
The protective order must meet specific domestic or family violence requirements. If these criteria are met, the protective order will be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), preventing the person from legally purchasing firearms.
It is important to note that this restriction only applies to legal firearm possession. If a person subject to a protective order illegally possesses a firearm, they face further legal consequences. Unfortunately, illegal firearm possession may still occur despite the protective order, and studies have shown that abusers who possess firearms are more likely to commit homicide. A Texas Council on Family Violence study found that more than half of intimate partner homicides involving firearms occurred within two days of the victim obtaining a protective order.
Texas has recently passed laws that strengthen the protection available to victims of domestic violence. For example, House Bill 629 requires judges to inquire about the presence and location of firearms when issuing protective orders. Furthermore, Senate Bill 194 helps enforce firearms surrender by requiring the court to provide the accused abuser with written notice and a hearing to contest firearms surrender. These laws aim to prevent abusers from possessing firearms and ensure the safety of victims.
Therefore, it is essential to understand the limitations of protective orders and the importance of seeking additional protection measures, such as temporary safe housing and increased security measures. Additionally, it is crucial to establish a safety plan with a domestic violence shelter or hotline and notify law enforcement immediately of any protective order violations.
In Texas, the link between protective orders and firearm possession is crucial to understand when it comes to the safety and protection of victims of domestic violence. While laws exist to restrict firearm possession by those subject to a protective order, it is essential to recognize that these laws have limitations. It is vital to seek additional protection measures and promptly report any violations.
Lastly, recent legislative changes have been made to strengthen the protective measures available to victims of domestic violence in Texas. By understanding these laws and taking appropriate actions, we can help prevent domestic violence and ensure the safety of those affected by it.
The relationship between protective orders and firearm possession in Texas is essential to understand, and taking necessary precautions to protect domestic violence victims from abuse is crucial. If you are a domestic violence or abuse victim, seeking help and taking the necessary legal steps to protect yourself is paramount. Engaging an experienced family law attorney in Houston to guide and support you through the process can help you understand your legal rights and the necessary steps to ensure your safety. Remember, in situations like this, safety is paramount.
If you’re living in Texas and looking for a domestic violence lawyer, please get in touch with Daniel Ogbeide Law today! Our family court lawyers are dedicated to helping you get the compensation and support you deserve.
Disclaimer: This article is only intended for educational purposes and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for legal advice.