The Lautenberg Domestic Violence Gun Confiscation Law states that if a person is convicted of a domestic violence involved misdemeanor, he or she cannot ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition, and also adds to the list of “prohibited persons”. In this case, a prohibited person can now be a person convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence on their spouse, son, or daughter. A prohibited person can never again own or acquire a firearm of any type, and the only way to alter this law is by either getting their criminal record expunged, or being pardoned of their criminal activity to be able to own or acquire a firearm. The Lautenberg Domestic Confiscation Law was signed into law on September 30, 1996 as part of section 658 in the Treasury Postal portion of the omnibus appropriations bill. Many criminal attorneys and defendants are not aware of this law and unfortunately do not become aware of it until it’s too late.
The law’s definition of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is “the use or attempted use of physical force against a family member”. This also includes spanking in many jurisdictions; meaning, spanking a child could result in a lifetime ban of owning a firearm. A battery does not have to occur for this law to be in effect. The threatening of a deadly weapon would also be covered in this law. Also, this law does apply to past cases and will result in a ban on owning weapons.
Lastly, if a prohibited person is found with a firearm, he or she could be subject to a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison. Also, law enforcement officials and members on the armed forces are no exception to this law. Interestingly, an officer “under a current protection order, or even one who has a conviction for murdering a spouse, may legally possess a service firearm, but a person convicted of a crime under the Lautenberg law is prohibited from carrying a firearm. Surprisingly, battered women, who are protecting themselves, also can become a prohibited person and receive a lifetime ban of owning firearms. Finally, it is also a felony to transfer a firearm or ammunition to a known person to have a domestic violence conviction.
Clearly, according to this law, there will be a lifetime punishment for being convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. This law is clearly trying to deter individuals from committing acts of domestic violence by imposing a lifetime ban on possessing firearms or ammunition.
By Benjamin Burleson of Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law