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Domestic Violence & Firearm Possession

In 2010, the State of Iowa implemented firearm restrictions for those convicted of any domestic violence offense. Similar to federal law, the State of Iowa prohibits individuals convicted of a misdemeanor or felony family violence crime to possess, ship, transport or receive a firearm or ammunition. The law also extends to any person subject to the terms and conditions of a domestic violence protective order.

Unlike other criminal offenses, individuals convicted of a domestic violence offense will lose their firearm rights indefinitely. The reason for this is that federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)) also indicates anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime cannot own or use a gun. Even the Governor of Iowa does not have the authority to restore this right for any individual. If you’ve been arrested or accused of a domestic violence offense and fear you may lose your right to bear arms, we encourage you to contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

Domestic Violence Firearm Laws | Des Moines Family Violence Attorney, IA

The penalties for a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence crime are incredibly serious. A conviction could mean serious fines, incarceration, and even lose the right to a firearm. If you’re subject to a domestic violence order or are facing criminal charges, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our experienced West Des Moines family violence lawyers can examine all the facts and formulate a sturdy defense for your case. With decades of experience, resources, and knowledge on their side, the team at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are thoroughly prepared to take on your case no matter how serious.

To set up your first consultation call our office at (515) 279-9700 or simply submit an online contact form. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is located in Des Moines, and we accept clients in every part of and the surrounding areas of Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa.


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Can You Own a Gun if You Have a Domestic Violence Charge in Iowa?

An accusation alone will not prohibit an individual from possessing or using a firearm. However, if a person is convicted of a domestic violence offense, then they will be prohibited from owning a firearm. In addition, Iowa law states any person subject to a domestic violence protective order will also be required to relinquish all firearms while the order is in effect.

According to Iowa Code Section 724.26(2)(a), a person under issuance of a domestic violence protective order or convicted of a domestic violence crime cannot do the following:

  • Possess a firearm
  • Receive a firearm from another person
  • Transport a firearm from one area to another
  • Exercise dominion or control over a firearm

Individuals who violate Iowa Statutes by owning or using a firearm while subject to a proactive order or convicted of a domestic violence crime will face a class D felony. If convicted of this offense, the individual may face up to 5 years in prison as well as an additional fine between $1,025 and $10,245.


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Domestic Violence Protective Orders & Firearms

Any individual who has been issued a protective order for domestic violence is prohibited from owning a firearm. According to the Iowa Code Ch664A, a protective order or no-contact order for an act of domestic violence the order must state the defendant is required to turn over all their firearms.

In some cases, a proceeding for a temporary no-contact order to protect a plaintiff from alleged domestic abuse will be ex parte. That means the individual accused will not have a chance to present their own arguments and defend themselves against the accusations. If the court issues a temporary criminal no-contact order, then the order must contain terms that state the defendant will relinquish their firearms once the permanent order goes into effect.

The court will grant a permanent protective order or approve a consent agreement if they discover a finding that the defendant has engaged in domestic abuse. If this occurs, the defendant will be officially be prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving firearms and/or ammunition.

Only certain individuals can petition a protective order for domestic abuse. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Family or household members who were in the same dwelling at the time of the abuse. Some of these include:
    • Spouses
    • Parents
    • People related by affinity or consanguinity
    • People cohabitating together
  • Separated or divorced spouses
  • Parents of the same minor child regardless of their marital status
  • Family or household members that resided together within the past year, but was not cohabitating at the time of the abuse
  • People in an intimate relationship who have been in contact within the year before the alleged abuse

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Surrendering Firearms for a Domestic Violence Crime

If the defendant has been court ordered to relinquish their firearms, they must abide by certain processes under the Iowa Code. The law states the defendant must sell their or transfer their firearm by a specific date to the custody of a qualified person in the State, as determined by the court. If the court is unbale to identify a qualified person, then all firearms and/or ammunition must be transferred by a specific date to a county or local law enforcement agency.

The firearms and/or ammunition will remain with the law enforcement agency for safekeeping until the court can find a qualified person to receive it instead. In addition, the court will also assess the reasonable cost of storing the defendant’s firearm/ammunition, and the defendant will be responsible for that cost.


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Additional Resources

Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) – Visit the official website for one of the leading voices to end intimate partner and domestic violence in the state of Iowa. Access the site to learn more about their services, community-based agencies and interventions, resources, and their various programs.

Domestic Violence & Firearm Possession Laws – Visit the official website for the Iowa Legal Aid to learn more about Iowa’s laws regarding gun possession in relation to domestic violence crimes. Access the site to learn why Iowa and federal law restricts firearm access to domestic violence offenders, how that translates to protective orders, how law enforcement enforces these laws, and additional information about consent orders.


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Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers | Des Moines, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a domestic violence offense or was notified you are under subject for a protective order, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. A conviction or issuance of a protective order for a domestic violence crime could lead to you relinquishing all firearms indefinitely unless the order expires, or the conviction is overturned. Thankfully, you can avoid this scenario with experienced legal representation like the legal team at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can take on your case and begin crafting a defense right away. Call today at (515) 279-9700 or simply submit an online contact form to schedule your first consultation.


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