If you have been served with an abuse prevention or restraining order, you will likely be required to surrender your Firearms Identification Card or your License to Carry Firearms. You will also likely be required to turn over your handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition to your local police department.
Our abuse prevention statutes protect “family or household members.” The Legislature intended to address violence stemming from relationships which may not be considered traditional ‘family or household’ associations. Individuals who are or were involved in a “substantive dating or relationship” are included within this definition G.L .c. 209A § 1(e). The plaintiff bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the parties were engaged in a ‘substantive dating relationship’ within the meaning of G.L. c. 209A, § 1 and the Court must satisfy itself that the relationship between the parties is something significantly more than having casually dated.
Abuse prevention orders which can have serious implications, especially if the defendant is a police officer, armed security guard, or otherwise needs to carry a firearm for work or other important purposes. Therefore, the judge must focus on whether serious physical harm is imminent and should not issue a c. 209A order on the theory that it will do no harm.
G.L. c. 209A restraining orders and abuse prevention orders contain what is known as a “suspension and surrender” provision, under which the defendant’s access to firearms and ammunition is terminated. The issuance of these types of court orders may also independently trigger the suspension or revocation of your firearms license, based on suitability concerns. If your FID or LTC is suspended or revoked, you cannot possess guns or ammunition until your license is reinstated.
You have the legal right to contest the issuance of a restraining or abuse prevention order by appealing it in the court where it was issued. You also have the right to appeal the suspension or revocation of your Massachusetts firearms license. The law gives you the right to be represented by a lawyer at any hearing regarding both the issuance of an abuse prevention order and the suspension of your firearms permit. You right to challenge restraining orders and the loss of your firearms is limited. If you fail to preserve your appellate rights in a timely manner, you may lose your right to appeal.