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How do allegations of domestic violence affect gun possession?

When it comes to allegations of domestic violence, there are always two sides to the story. However, it may be the case that one person will be accused of committing the act. This can have a significant effect on that person's rights, including their right to possess a firearm.

Under Maryland law, if the police are called in response to allegations of domestic violence, the officer is permitted to take a firearm from the scene if two elements are met. First, the officer must have probable cause to believe that an act constituting domestic violence did take place, and the officer saw the firearm when responding to the scene of the alleged act.

However, if an officer takes a firearm from the scene, the officer must do two things. First, the officer must give the owner of the firearm information on how the owner can go about retaking possession of the firearm. Second, the firearm must be safely stored while the domestic violence proceedings are pending.

Once the domestic violence proceedings are over, the person who owns the firearm may retake it, unless, in a final protective order, the person the order is against must surrender any firearms in his or her possession. In this situation, the person is not permitted to possess a firearm until the protective order has ended.

The right to possess a firearm is not absolute. There are situations in which law enforcement officials can confiscate a firearm. While this is meant to keep people safe, it is important that police do not overstep their authority and wrongfully take a firearm from a person who has done no harm. If a person is being accused of committing a crime involving an act of domestic violence against another person, he or she should understand what his or her rights are with regards to firearms possession.

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
8630 Fenton St., Suite 320
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Office Number: 301-589-2100
Afterhours Number: 301-367-6500

Fax: 301-588-8848
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013