Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants
Unlike federal law, Montana does not strictly proscribe people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or owning firearms. However, courts do have limited authority to regulate firearm use and possession by anyone who has used a firearm to perpetrate domestic violence. Namely, a court may prohibit the domestic violence offender from using or possessing a firearm that was used in a domestic violence assault.1 In addition, a court, at its discretion, may have the county sheriff in the domestic violence offender’s county of residence revoke or deny renewal of a concealed weapons permit.2
Montana defines domestic violence (which it terms “partner or family member assault”) as:
- Purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury to a partner, including dating partners 3 or family member;4
- Negligently causing bodily injury to a partner or family member with a weapon; or
- Purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in a partner or family member.5
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Montana allows, but does not require, courts to prohibited the subject of certain domestic violence protective orders, including temporary orders, from possessing or using the firearm used in the assault.6 In order to secure a temporary protective order, a petitioner is required to file a sworn statement asserting that the petitioner:
- Is in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury; or
- Is a victim of one of the offenses listed in Montana Code Ann. § 40-15-102, which includes partner or family member assault, and has a relationship to the respondent if required by Montana Code Ann. § 40-15-102; and
- Is in danger of harm if the court does not immediately issue a temporary order of protection.
Thereafter, a court may grant a temporary protective order prohibiting the offender from using and possessing a firearm used in an assault only if it determines both that the petitioner will be in danger if it fails to act immediately and that the firearm restriction constitutes appropriate relief.7 Federal law is broader.
Removal or Surrender of a Firearm at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident
Montana requires a peace officer responding to a call about a partner or family member assault to seize the weapon used or threatened to be used in the alleged assault.8 The seized weapon may not be returned to the offender until: 1) the offender has been acquitted; or 2) return of the weapon is ordered by the court.9
Montana does not require the removal or surrender of firearms for persons subject to a domestic violence restraining or protective order.
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- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206(7).
- Id. See Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-323 (authorizing denial of renewal or revocation of a concealed weapons permit).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206(2)(b) defines “partners” to include spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common, and persons who have been or are currently in a dating of ongoing intimate relationship with a person of the opposite sex.
- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206(2)(a) defines “family members” to include mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, stepchildren, stepparents, in-laws, adoptive children and parents, and other past or present family members of a household regardless of the ages of the parties and whether the parties reside in the same household.
- Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206(1)(a)-(c).
- Mont. Code Ann. §§ 40-15-103(1)(6); 40-15-201(1), (2)(f).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 40-15-201(1) and (2)(f).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 46-6-603(1).
- Mont. Code Ann. § 46-6-603(3).