A Gun Violence Restraining Order is a court order that prohibits someone from having a gun, ammunition or magazines.
It can order someone to:
- Not have (possess) a gun, ammunition or magazines;
- Not buy a gun, ammunition, or magazines; and
- Turn in any guns, ammunition and magazines to the police, sell them to or store them with a licensed gun dealer.
If you are afraid someone close to you may use a gun to hurt themselves, or another person, you can ask for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.
Who can ask for a Gun Violence Restraining Order?
Only a close family member or a law enforcement officer can ask a judge for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.
Close family members are:
- Your spouse or domestic partner
- Your parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and their spouses (including stepparents or step-grandparents)
- Your spouse’s parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren
- Any person who regularly lives in your house now, or within the last 6 months.
If you are not closely related to the person you want to restrain but are still concerned about what they may do with their gun, call the police.
What a Gun Violence Restraining Order CANNOT Do:
A firearms restraining order will NOT order the restrained person to:
- Stay away from you or your family members;
- Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you; and
- Move out of your house.
If you want a restraining order with more protections (like the ones listed above), there are other kinds of restraining orders that can include some or all of the orders listed above:
- Domestic violence restraining orders, for protection from people you were involved with romantically at some point or close family members.
- Civil harassment restraining orders, for protection from a stalker, neighbors, roommates, coworkers, or more distant family members like cousins, uncles/aunts, etc.
- Elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order, if the person being abused is 65 or older, or between 18 and 64 and a dependent adult.
- Workplace violence restraining order, filed by an employer to protect an employee from violence, stalking, or harassment by another person.
If you are not sure what kind of restraining order you should get, go to your local self-help center for free help. You may get help from your local legal services offices or you can hire an attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it cost money to file?
No. There is no court fee. And the Sheriff/Marshall will “serve” your order for free.
How will guns be taken away from the person?
If a judge approves a Gun Violence Restraining Order, you can ask your local Sheriff or Marshall to serve the order on the person for free. This is the safest option because the Sheriff or Marshall can take away any guns, ammunition and magazines from the restrained person.
Are there different types of Gun Violence Restraining Orders?
All Gun Violence Restraining Orders do the same thing, take guns, magazines and ammunition away from the restrained person, and prevent them from buying new ones. A Temporary or Emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order will last about 21 days. To have a longer Gun Violence Restraining Order (up to one year), there has to be a court hearing. At the court hearing the judge will consider all the evidence and decide whether to approve a Gun Violence Restraining Order for up to a year.
Do I have to testify in court?
If you want a restraining order that lasts more than 21 days, you will have to go to court and tell the judge why you need a restraining order.
How long does a Gun Violence Restraining Order last?
It can last up to one year.