Victims of domestic violence often ask me if the abuser can keep firearms after committing domestic violence. My response always begins with a recitation of the following statutes.
50B-3.1 (a) Required Surrender of Firearms. – Upon issuance of an emergency or ex parte order pursuant to this Chapter, the court shall order the defendant to surrender to the sheriff all firearms, machine guns, ammunition, permits to purchase firearms, and permits to carry concealed firearms that are in the care, custody, possession, ownership, or control of the defendant….
50B-3.1 (e) Retrieval. – If the court does not enter a protective order when the ex parte or emergency order expires, the defendant may retrieve any weapons surrendered to the sheriff unless the court finds that the defendant is precluded from owning or possessing a firearm pursuant to State or federal law or final disposition of any pending criminal charges committed against the person that is the subject of the current protective order.
So, when a domestic violence order is issued the court must order the defendant to surrender all firearms. But if that order expires without renewal, the defendant can retrieve his or her weapons from the sheriff unless prohibited by some other law.