Can a restraining order cause me to lose my firearms?

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Thursday, August 20, 2015.

Massachusetts currently has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. As part of these regulations, the Massachusetts legislature has granted your local police department considerable authority with regards to whether or not you should be allowed to possess firearms.

You need to know that you may be forced to surrender your weapons even if you have not actually been charged with a crime involving domestic violence. In fact, an individual who files a restraining order alleging that you have engaged in some manner of harassment could compel a court to order the surrender of your weapons.

Previously, that order could be rescinded and your guns and permits would be returned to you if a judge determined it might be appropriate. However, recent changes in the Massachusetts gun laws now mean that your Firearms Identification Card or License to Carry permit will remain suspended as long as any restraining order against you is still pending.

You should know that retaining legal representation in cases where your right to possess your weapons have been infringed can be vitally important to restoring those rights. For example, a criminal defense attorney can advocate on your behalf during any hearings regarding the underlying restraining order. An attorney can also collect proof of your prior good behavior and petition the court for the restoration of your gun rights privileges.

Additionally, you also need to know that police throughout the Commonwealth has the authority to confiscate your weapons from you based on their reasonable suspicion that you may be a danger to others. An attorney experienced with Massachusetts' gun rights reinstatement procedures can assist you in seeking the recovery of your firearms.

Source: Massachusetts Legislature- General Laws, "Chapter 41, Section 98 - Powers and duties," accessed Aug. 20, 2015