Domestic Violence & The Lautenberg Amendment
Federal law prohibits certain individuals charged with misdemeanor domestic violence from ever owning a firearm. The law is known as the Lautenberg Amendment and was officially enacted in 1996, but it is retroactive so it applies to any individual who meets the requirements no matter when they were convicted.Â It is important to note that the Lautenberg Amendment does not apply to felony offenses.
The law has three requirements which must all be met in order to apply:
â€śany personâ€¦who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.â€ť – 18 U.S.C. Â§ 922(g)(9)
Must have been a misdemeanor at time of conviction, felonies that were/are reduced to misdemeanors do NOT fall under the Lautenberg Amendment although they may be subject to other domestic violence gun rights restrictions by state.
Must be an actual conviction.
This DOES include pleas of nolocontendere, no contest, â€śnoloâ€ť (as long as it led to an actual conviction)
This DOES NOT include:
- Arrest that did not lead to a conviction
- Deferred adjudication (TX)
- Withheld adjudication (FL)
- Dismissed/non-prosecuted cases
- Pre Trial Intervention (PTI)
- Any other alternative disposition
3. Domestic violence:
According to the Lautenberg Amendment, the definition of domestic violence is as follows:
â€śhas, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victimâ€ť
Who was the victim?
It all comes down to the offender/victim relationship, it is considered domestic violence if the offender:
- Is the current spouse of the victim
- Is the former spouse of the victim
- Is the parent of the victim
- Is the guardian of the victim
- Shares a common child with the victim
- Is cohabitating as a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim
- USED to cohabitate as a spouse, parent,
or guardian of the victim
- Is otherwise similarly situated as a spouse,
parent, or guardian of the victim
If you were convicted under the state definition of â€śdomestic violenceâ€ť but it is outside of the federal definition as outlined in the Lautenberg Amendment (with all three qualifying elements), then the Lautenberg Amendment does not apply.
Expungement does NOT restore firearm rights, the only way to have your federal gun rights restored is to get a pardon from the governor.
Joining the military
All branches of the military have written their policies to consist of both the federal definition of domestic violence as defined in the Lautenberg Amendment AS WELL AS the state law that the individual was convicted under. This means that if someone was convicted of a misdemeanor under ANY state law of â€śdomestic violenceâ€ť they will not be able to join (or stay in) the military.
If you have any questions about the Lautenberg Amendment or how it applies to your case please ask them in our forums at http://www.recordclearing.org/forum/
Whats on your record?
The first step to removing your criminal record is to find out what, if anything, is showing up on your criminal background. If you are unsure of what exactly is holding you back from jobs or any of lives other opportunities we highly recommend visiting our partner, BackgroundChecks.com, where you can get a full national criminal history background check for a super low price.