How does a GVRO work?

A family member, household member, law enforcement officer, certain teacher or school employee, co-worker, or employer can request that a civil court in their jurisdiction issue a GVRO based on the facts they present through a formal, written application, and/or at a hearing before a judge. This does not involve a criminal complaint, and seeking a GVRO does not preclude the petitioner from seeking any other available legal remedy. Specifically, the court process for obtaining a GVRO is as follows:

After the petition is filed, a judge considers the information presented by the petitioner and assesses whether the person is at risk of harming themselves or someone else. If issued, a temporary GVRO will be in effect for 21 days or less. If the subject does not own or possess firearms, he or she is prohibited from purchasing any firearm and ammunition for the duration of the order. If the subject does own or possess firearms, he or she must relinquish them for the duration of the order. The subject of the petition is also prohibited from purchasing new firearms or ammunition.

Within 21 days and before the temporary GVRO expires, a subsequent hearing will take place in which both the petitioner and the subject of the petition have an opportunity to be heard and to address the allegation of dangerousness. If after the hearing the court determines that the subject of the petition is dangerous, the order prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms will be extended to last between one and five years.

Firearms surrendered under the GVRO may be held by law enforcement, sold to a federally licensed firearm dealer, or held by a federally licensed firearm dealer. If at the expiration of the order the subject of the petition is not otherwise prohibited from purchasing a gun and a new GVRO has not been issued, all firearms will be returned.