Georgia: Can a Temporary Protective Order Infringe Your Second Amendment Rights?


MATT KILGO: The issue today is on temporary protective orders. Can the temporary protective order infringe your Second Amendment right to possess firearms? Well, let’s first talk about two different types of orders. We need to talk about divorce action restraining orders and family violence protective orders.

Generally under divorce action restraining orders, your right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed. Those types of orders are not entered onto what is known as the Family Violence Registry, which is a national database where protective orders are entered. Since they’re not entered there, Federal law doesn’t apply to them. So, as a general rule, divorce action restraining orders are not going to subject you to a loss of your right to keep and bear arms. Family violence protective orders, however, are a different story. If you or a minor child that you represent feels that you’ve been the victim of family violence, you can go in and ask a judge to issue a temporary order.

Now, let’s say you’re not the person asking for the order but the person against whom an order is being asked. Let’s say you are the respondent and not the petitioner. The petitioner’s the one seeking the order. If the petitioner goes to a judge and says, Judge, please give me an order protecting me from someone and the judge finds that there’s enough immediate evidence to do so, the judge will issue what is known as an ex parte order without the other party.

You don’t have to be there for a temporary order to be entered against you. And under Georgia law, if the judge determines that there’s enough evidence to believe violence may occur, then the judge can order that you surrender your firearms. That order is given to the sheriff, the sheriff executes the order by serving you; and the sheriff could confiscate your firearms. That’s under a protective order.

Now, you’ll be given an opportunity to be heard. Go get a lawyer. Go to the hearing. Contest the request for the full protective order, the permanent protective order. If a permanent protective order is entered, then federal law precludes you from possession of firearms or ammunition. So, for a protective order, a temporary order the state of Georgia can take your guns.

For a final order entered against you, a final protective order, then federally the Federal government can take your guns and your ammunition. So, please, if you are a respondent, if you have been served with a temporary protective order, please go and seek counsel. Please protect yourself and protect your rights.

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