Weapons Forfeiture and Domestic Violence

Here is a scenario many are, unfortunately, familiar with: Mary calls the police on her husband, Mike. While there, the police ask Mike if he has any weapons. Mike tells them he is a licensed gun owner. The police seize his weapons, along with his firearms purchaser ID card. Because of Mary’s call to the police and the substance of her allegations, Mike has a temporary restraining order entered against him.

What happens to Mike’s weapons; can he get them back? Can Mary object to him getting them back? It depends, of course.

If the temporary restraining order was dismissed, Mike may be able to get his weapons back, although there is no guarantee. The county prosecutor’s office has 45 days from the time it becomes aware that weapons were seized to object to their return. Even though the temporary restraining order against Mike was dismissed, the county prosecutor’s office may still require Mike to attend a weapons forfeiture hearing in order to get his weapons back.

But what about Mary? Can she object to the weapons being returned? Yes, Mary can object and attend the hearing. Depending on the substance of her objection, it may or may not be enough to prevent Mike from getting his weapons back.

What if, instead of Mary’s temporary restraining order having been dismissed, she obtained a final restraining order against Mike? Could he get his weapons back then? The short answer is, generally, no.

What happens to Mike’s weapons if he does not get them back? The county/state will pay him the reasonable value of whatever they seized.

Date Published: April 4, 2017

Written by: Alexandra Rigden

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