Some of these laws apply to ammunition, as well as firearms. State Laws Prohibiting Domestic Violence Misdemeanants from Purchasing or Possessing Firearms or Ammunition As noted above, federal law prohibits purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by persons convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” but federal law defines that term narrowly.
The federal prohibitions on firearm possession by domestic abusers do not ensure that guns that are already in the possession of an abuser are removed.
A March 2013 investigation by the New York Times found that more than 50 people in Washington State were arrested on gun charges in 2011 while subject to protective orders, and that, over a three-year period, more than 30 people in Minnesota were convicted of an assault with a dangerous weapon while subject to protective orders.
A survey of domestic abusers enrolled in Massachusetts batterer intervention programs between 20 found that perpetrators who continued to possess firearms after they were prohibited from doing so by federal law were more likely to attempt homicide or threaten their partners with guns than domestic violence perpetrators who had relinquished their firearms. Reporting of Abusers: In order for background checks to prevent abusers from obtaining guns, states must report abusers who fall within prohibited categories to the proper databases.
Identifying the abusers to be reported involves a series of complex legal issues that many states have not yet addressed.
The risk of domestic violence being committed by a dating partner is well-documented.
In 2008, individuals killed by current dating partners made up almost half of all spouse and current dating partner homicides.
A study of applicants for domestic violence restraining orders in Los Angeles found that the most common relationship between the victim and abuser was a dating relationship, and applications for protective orders were more likely to mention firearms when the parties had not lived together and were not married.
The current federal prohibitions also do not address violence against family members other than a child or intimate partner, such as an abused sibling or parent. S Department of Justice, the proportion of family homicides that involve children killing their parents has been increasing, rising steadily from 9.7% of all family homicides in 1980 to 13% in 2008.
The lack of a requirement for a federal background check before every sale of a gun, including sales by unlicensed, private sellers, enables many domestic abusers to obtain the firearms they use against their victims.