Federal and state laws vary on what exactly happens to the guns of those convicted of domestic violence. The laws differ depending on what state you live in and whether or not it is decided to be a felony or misdemeanor. So let's check out what the deal is in Austin.
- With a search warrant, law enforcement officials can seize a firearm as a part of an investigation.
- If your gun is seized using a search warrant, and you are not convicted or prosecuted for an offense, you can get your firearm back. It will, however, take some time. The magistrate responsible for the case can hold on to your firearm for 61 days after deciding not to charge you before they must notify you in writing that you can request your firearm. If you do not respond and request it within 121 days after your initial arrest, it can be either destroyed or sold at a public auction.
- If you are convicted of either a felony or misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, you cannot buy a gun from a licensed dealer per the 1996 Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban. The ban also states that those convicted of domestic violence in any capacity should not be able to own guns.
- The ban does not explicitly require you to hand in guns you already own to law enforcement. Additionally, state law in 41 states, including Texas, also does not require you to relinquish guns you already own. This means that you will likely not have to give up your firearms if you are convicted of a misdemeanor.
- In Texas, however, you can buy a gun from unlicensed, private sellers even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. This is due to private sellers not being required to run background checks when someone purchases a gun.
The rules regarding gun seizure can be a bit confusing, particularly in cases of domestic violence. To clarify your rights, contact a criminal defense attorney following an arrest.