When it Comes to Orders of Protection and Guns--Language Matters
When it comes to orders of protection - language matters. The boxes checked, the lines filled in, and the specific orders enumerated in a Tennessee order of protection, impact the effect it has on respondents/defendants' gun rights. For the federal firearms restrictions, and accordingly the Tennessee state firearms restrictions, to be imposed, specific requirements as specified in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) must be met in an order of protection. Additionally, the restrictions apply to narrow classes of individuals - much narrower than those who a Tennessee order of protection may generally apply. The findings and restrictions currently in Tennessee's order of protection forms arguably do not meet the stringent requirements of the federal law. This article provides a detailed, but brief, overview of the federal and state law governing firearms restrictions - with the perspective of Tennessee practitioners and judges in mind. This article also argues as to why the Administrative Office of the Courts should modify Tennessee's forms to ensure they remain effective and are given full faith and credit by other jurisdictions.