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Armed Forces and the Lautenberg Amendment

Armed Forces and the Firearm Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges or Convictions

When You Need a Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer or Attorney

If you’re a member of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard or in any law enforcement role and you’re facing a domestic violence charge or conviction, you need to know the consequences a domestic violence conviction will have on your career. In 1996 Congress passed the Lautenberg Amendment, which makes it illegal for persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence qualifying convictions to possess firearms or ammunition. There’s no exception for military personnel or law enforcement.

The Lautenberg Amendment (an amendment that Congress passed to the Gun Control act of 1968) holds: if you’ve been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, you can be charged with a felony if you possess, transport, ship, or receive firearms or ammunition. However, the Lautenberg Amendment doesn’t state what constitutes a qualifying conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence. The military has interpreted this gray area by looking at the facts surrounding the conviction and determining if the prohibition on possessing firearms and ammunition applies. As a result, sometimes even if the government drops the domestic violence tag and just plead guilty to simple assault, that conviction can still qualify as a domestic violence conviction and make you ineligible to own or possess firearms or ammunition. To trigger the prohibition, the following factors must exist:

  • It must be a conviction and not an arrest
  • It must involve the actual or threatened use of force and/or a deadly weapon
  • There must be a familial or romantic relationship between the parties

Government personnel aren’t exempt from these laws. The Department of Defense and United States Army have implemented policies that informs soldiers that they are non-deployable for missions that requires possession of ammunition or firearms if they have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges. A conviction will make soldiers ineligible for overseas deployment effectively ending most military careers.

If you’re a member of the Armed Services or law enforcement and you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, your future is at stake. You need lawyers who know the law, litigate these cases regularly and who know the consequences to your career. You need zealous representation in the truest meaning of the term. We know how to work out resolutions for soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and special ops military members that avoid these extreme and harsh consequences; we’ve represented members of all the various armed forces, be it Navy Seals, Force Recon, Army Special Forces, Rangers, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or National Guard. Call us today for a free initial consultation.

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