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Texas' Gun Laws and Protective Orders

In Texas, victims of dating violence, family violence, sexual assault, and stalking can ask the court for a protective order, which is sometimes referred to as a “restraining order” in other states.

If someone has taken a protective order out against you and you’re a gun owner, you may be wondering, “Can I possess a firearm while I’m named in a protective order?” We’ll answer that shortly, but for starters, we’re going to discuss the three types of protective orders in Texas, which are: 1) Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders, 2) Final Protective Orders, and 3) Magistrate’s Orders for Emergency Protection (MOEP).

  • Temporary Ex Parte Order: This is a temporary order that orders the abuser from committing further acts of abuse. It is supposed to protect the victim until the court hearing for a Final Protective Order. These orders can last up to 20 days.
  • Final Protective Order: This order is meant to prevent the abuser from harming the victim and their children in any way. It also orders the abuser to not contact the victims in any way. Final Protective Orders can last up to two years.
  • Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection: These are issued only when someone has been arrested for family violence. If an MOEP is issued, it’s effective for 31 to 61 days, or up to 91 days if the abuser used a weapon during the act of violence.

Now that we’ve clarified the three types of protective orders in Texas, let’s take a look at gun laws and protective orders in Texas. In Texas, it’s against the law for an abuser to have a firearm while they are named in an active protective order. Going further, it is a “federal crime” to possess ammunition or firearms while being named in a “qualifying protective order.”

(Sources: TX Family Code Ch.85.026 & 18 U.S.C. Ch 922 (g)(8))

We hope this post answers your questions regarding firearms and protective orders. If you are facing criminal charges for family violence, or if you have been named in a Temporary Ex Parte Order and are looking for legal representation at your hearing, please contact our Plano criminal defense firm for the high-caliber representation your situation demands!