Domestic abuse is one of the most damaging types of violence in our society. It hurts both the individual being abused and the family as a whole. Leaving an abusive relationship can be a difficult and scary process, which is why it is so important that the men and women who survive this abuse get the help that they need.
One part of the process is often obtaining an order of protection. Many people also call these orders “restraining orders,” because that is what they are called in differing states and often referred to in the media. Moreover, these orders make it illegal for your abuser to contact you or come near you, in addition to having other restrictions. One restriction that is very important to protecting survivors of abuse, of which many may be unaware, is that once an order of protection is entered, it is illegal for the abuser to possess a gun.
Orders of Protection Impact Gun Rights
Most people know that the second amendment grants U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. This has been held to mean that most people have a right to own guns. However, the courts have held that there are exceptions to this right. For example, the government can make it illegal for felons or people with certain mental illnesses to have guns. Another group of people who the government has banned from gun possession includes those with certain types of orders of protection related to domestic violence entered against them. In order for this ban to apply, various criteria must be met:
- There must have been a hearing on the order and the person against whom the order is entered must have had actual notice of the hearing and a chance to participate. This means that the emergency temporary order that can be obtained immediately does not impact gun rights; and
- The court must find at the hearing that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner, or the order itself must explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.
While some people choose to represent themselves in order of protection hearings, the process can be intimidating, particularly if you have no experience with the court system. You can seek the help of an attorney at any point in the process. If, for example, you have already obtained an emergency order by yourself, it is not too late to seek out the help of an attorney for the hearing on a long term order of protection.
Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.
If you are a domestic violence survivor and you are considering leaving an abusive marriage, you need the help of experienced Illinois family law lawyers. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. at 630-665-7676. We can help you with obtaining an order of protection, filing for legal separation, and ultimately obtaining a divorce.