When you're embroiled in conflict with your spouse or significant other, life can get complicated – and sometimes, when a confrontation escalates or becomes physical, law enforcement becomes involved by serving protection from abuse (PFA) orders and taking other types of legal action. Getting slapped with a PFA can come as a shock, particularly when you don't feel the action is warranted. While understanding the specifics of a PFA and knowing when you're in violation of the order can be confusing, a new law could add another layer of complexity for Pennsylvania residents who are gun owners.
In many states, someone violates a protective order in cases of stalking or domestic violence if they do not surrender their firearm to the court after being ordered to do so. In Pennsylvania, for example, the court was not previously required to order an individual's firearms to be removed after issuing a protective order. However, following a school shooting in Florida, a new law to keep firearms away from individuals targeted by PFA orders may soon take effect in Pennsylvania.
What is a PFA Order?
Also known as a restraining order or a protective order, a PFA is a court order that aims to protect individuals from domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other types of harm. The PFA document typically orders the alleged abuser to stop doing certain acts, such as coming near the other party, and it can require the alleged abuser to do other things, such as leave the home or pay temporary child support. If the alleged abuser violates the PFA order, they may be arrested by the police and taken to jail.
What Does the Gun Law Do?
In Pennsylvania, the new law would make third-party safekeeping no longer a viable option for an individual who has been ordered by the court to surrender their firearms under a PFA or following a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. This law would also apply to other weapons, ammunition, and firearms licenses.
The legislation also shortens the amount of time individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges or subject to a PFA must surrender their guns. The legislation would chop the timeframe from 60 days to a mere 48 hours and require weapons to be surrendered to law enforcement or a licensed firearm dealer. While this legislation sounds logical on the surface, it could create a mess of additional legal trouble for individuals who unknowingly fail to comply with these terms.
You Need a Strong Defense Attorney on Your Side
Pennsylvania residents who are subject to a protection from abuse order have a right to counsel, and gun owners need to know their rights following PFA orders or domestic violence charges. Joseph D. Lento is tenacious in ensuring the interests of the accused are paramount at every step in the process. It's time to put the Lento Law Firm to work for you. Call 888-535-3686 today.