the past in their assaults against their partners, their children, family pets, or themselves. The use of guns, in particular, is a strong predictor of homicide. In fact, the 1997 report by the New York State Commission on Domestic Violence Fatalities found that guns were the weapons of choice in most domestic homicides.
Neither New York State Law, nor federal law prohibits possession of a firearm simply because a domestic violence arrest has been effected. However, employers should develop policies that require employees who are authorized to carry a firearm as part of their job responsibilities to notify the employer if they are arrested on a domestic violence offense and/or served with an order of protection. The employer should require the immediate surrender of all weapons in the employee's custody to a specified representative of the agency/department, pending an investigation. Under New York law, a person who is the named respondent or defendant on an order of protection may have to surrender his firearms while that order is in effect. Under federal law, it is a crime for that same person to possess a gun while an order of protection is in effect (subject to a limited exception for law enforcement officers who must carry guns).
Both New York State law and federal law make it unlawful, under certain circumstances, for a person convicted of a domestic violence-related crime to possess a gun. The federal law further prohibits a person convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition. Law enforcement officers are not exempt from this federal prohibition, and it applies no matter when the misdemeanor conviction occurred, even if prior to the amendment to the Gun Control Act, as long as the crimes were not expunged, set aside, or pardoned, or the person had his or her civil rights restored. Qualifying misdemeanors are those which involved "use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian, or by a person similarly situated as a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim." Employers must require that such persons surrender their firearms and