Return of firearmsMarch 16, 2013 9:19 pm 3 Comments
When a court issues a restraining order in New Hampshire the restrained party cannot possess a firearm. This means if the restrained party owns firearms, he must relinquish them, most often to the police. RSA 173-B:5(X) states that when one has relinquished his firearm to the police, he may request the return of his firearm 15 days prior to the expiration of the restraining order. In the Manchester District Court a judge has interpreted this statute to mean that if a restrained party does not request the return of his firearm 15 days prior to the expiration of a restraining order he cannot get his guns returned to him.
This order was recently the subject of an opinion by the NH Supreme Court in the case of, In the matter of S. Rebecca Carmody and Craig T. Carmody (Slip Op No. 2012-135). The Supreme Court ruled that the judge in the Manchester District Court had misunderstood the statute and reversed his decision denying the return of the firearms. The Supreme Court interpreted the word “may” in the statute to be permissive rather than mandatory and ruled that Mr. Carmody’s guns should be returned even though he waited longer than 15 days prior to the expiration of the restraining order to request their return.
This opinion demonstrates that if you have had your guns seized by the police because of a restraining order, you will be able to get them back once the restraining order ends.
This post was written by Jonathan Cohen