Domestic violence offenders may lose the right to bear arms in CO

A bill passed in Colorado last year requires domestic violence offenders and those who have protection orders against them to relinquish their firearms.

In cases of domestic violence, there are certainly two sides to every story. In some cases of domestic assault, it may be clearly apparent to a third party who the aggressor is and who is being abused. Other incidents, however, may prove to be more difficult for a third party to identify the responsible party. After a person is arrested and charged with domestic abuse, they may lose their rights to carry a gun within the state of Colorado.

Right to possess firearms

In 2013, Colorado Senate Bill 197 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee, prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms, according to Colorado State Legislature. People who have been convicted of domestic violence or have been served with a protection order are required to hand over their firearms within 24 hours. In some situations, the time limit may be extended to 72 hours.

Those needing to get rid of their guns and ammunition have several options, according to The Denver Post. They can transfer or sell their firearms to someone else through a licensed dealer. People also have an option of storing their guns with a federally licensed firearms dealer or a participating law enforcement agency. Extensive documentation of the sell, trade or storage is needed, regardless of which route the accused chooses.

According to the Huffington Post, opponents of the bill suggest that the new law requires people to turn over their firearms, even if they haven't been formerly convicted of a crime. This may be taken as confiscating personal property.

A closer look at domestic violence

In Colorado, it is up to the discretion of the responding law enforcement officer to determine which party is the primary abuser in the case. According to the Colorado General Assembly, law enforcement has the right to arrest a person who they have probable cause to believe is committing an act of domestic violence. If the judgment of the officer on call is incorrect, it could lead to the wrongful arrest of an innocent person. This person may then lose certain rights, including the right to possess a firearm, and have an inaccurate domestic violence charge listed on their record.

A recent landmark case involved a Wisconsin judge who ruled to allow a man, previously convicted of domestic violence, the right to have a concealed weapon permit. According to the Journal Sentinel the man, who had no prior criminal record, was charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence crime for disorderly conduct. Since a disorderly conduct charge in Wisconsin does not imply that physical force was used, the man was not held to the federal government's ban on gun possession.

Seeking legal counsel

Domestic violence convictions can wreak havoc on people's lives. People who are facing charges of domestic violence in Colorado may want to seek the legal counsel of a criminal defense attorney. With a thorough knowledge of Colorado's domestic violence laws, an attorney can be extremely advantageous to a defense case.

Keywords: domestic violence, firearm