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Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Offenders

Our collective advocacy led to a historic moment for MCADSV – a unanimous committee vote to pass a domestic violence firearm bill. For more than 20 years, MCADSV has supported replicating the federal firearm prohibitions for domestic violence offenders into state law yet the legislation was met with opposition. This committee vote is one step in a long process yet is significant considering the lack of traction firearms legislation has received in the past.

MCADSV regularly receives questions regarding the current status of firearm laws and prohibitions for domestic violence abusers. Firearm issues can be confusing. This is an ongoing challenge to educate on the dangers of abusers possessing firearms. Missouri recently ranked 10th in the nation as one of the deadliest states in terms of women killed by their male partners, with the majority of those homicides involving firearms. These protections are not only a bipartisan issue, they are a Missouri value.

Federal law, effective since 1997, prohibits a person who is the respondent of a full Order of Protection, or a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, from purchasing, possessing, owning, transporting, shipping or receiving firearms or ammunition. This law was upheld twice by the United States Supreme Court.

Currently, Missouri has no state law on domestic violence and firearms that parallels federal laws. This means that only federal officers can enforce the federal law when domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents are found with guns. Missouri law enforcement officers and prosecutors do not have legal jurisdiction to enforce federal gun laws relative to domestic violence offenders. Judges can add a provision to the Full Order of Protection form issued by the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator to invoke the firearm prohibitions. However, judges are not consistent in the way they deal with firearm restrictions for perpetrators of domestic violence so local law enforcement officers cannot consistently enforce the firearms prohibition.

A 2016 omnibus bill, Senate Bill 656, changed state law to allow Missourians to conceal and carry without a permit. The enactment of this law effectively made the concealed weapons permit process irrelevant; the only Missouri law that placed restrictions on gun ownership by convicted domestic violence misdemeanor offenders and respondents to Full Orders of Protection cannot be fully enforced. 

Multiple bills have been filed in the House and Senate this legislative session that would address the loophole between current federal and Missouri law. To review these bills, you can review the monthly MCADSV Legislative Update found on MCADSV’s website, Public Policy page under the “Changing Laws” tab.
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