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Domestic Violence and Firearms: A Deadly Combination

NCJ Number
John Wilkinson; Toolsi Gowin Meisner
Date Published
March 2011
7 pages
This newsletter provides information for criminal justice system partners on responding to domestic violence offenders with access to firearms.
In all possession of firearms by prohibited persons prosecutions, the defense will challenge the basic elements of the crime: whether the weapon is a firearm, whether the defendant was in fact in possession of the firearm, and whether the defendant is properly categorized as a prohibited person. To help the United States Attorney's Office, and State and local prosecutors disarm dangerous individuals and hold violent offenders accountable, accurate records of charges and convictions through a proactive approach in misdemeanor courts must be established. Findings show that steps should be taken when someone is convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, to include: routine inquiries about their access to firearms; disarming individuals who may no longer legally possess a firearm; and providing notice of the firearms prohibition to those affected along with documentation on service of that notice. Criminal justice system partners (prosecutors, police, judges, and clerks) should coordinate their responses to threats posed by domestic violence abusers who have access to firearms. 57 endnotes


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