If you’re a survivor of gun violence, help is available. Here’s an overview of the legal and non-legal options that can help you decrease risks and seek safety.
It’s important to seek the safety measure that best fits your needs. This looks different for everyone – find free resources, tools, and key links based on what you’re experiencing.
If you’re considering obtaining a restraining order, learn more about the different legal remedies in our printable toolkit.Download
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing one of the below crises, click into the corresponding section for more information and resources.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs) are a frequently used civil court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with. It names both a protected party (survivor/victim) and a restrained party, and provides other remedies such as child custody and visitation, attorney fees, move-out orders, and prohibitions on being violent or accessing a home, school, or place of employment.
A person who has a DVRO issued against them cannot own, purchase, or possess firearms and ammunition.
We strongly encourage all survivors to work with a domestic violence advocate or legal service provider for support and safety planning.
If you are worried about a loved one harming themselves and they have access to a firearm – or may be considering purchasing one – a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is one option to consider. A GVRO is a civil court order that prohibits someone from having a gun, ammunition, or magazines.
GVROs are designed to prohibit access to firearms and ammunition, and were established to prevent suicide or mass shootings.
Firearms are the most lethal suicide attempt method. Access to a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide more than three-fold. 1Anglemyer A, Horvath T, & Rutherford G. (2014). The accessibility of firearms and risk for suicide and homicide victimization among household members: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine.
Delaying a suicide attempt can also allow suicidal crises to pass and lead to fewer suicides.1Owens D, Horrocks J, & House A. (2002). Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm. Systematic review. British Journal of Psychiatry.
If you are worried that someone you care about may be a danger to others, the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is a potential option to prevent them from having access to guns. These orders can be requested by law enforcement or certain qualified individuals, and if granted by a judge, require the restrained person to turn in any guns, ammunition, and magazines to the police, or sell them to or store them with a licensed gun dealer. The restrained person will also be prevented from purchasing guns, ammunition, and magazines while the order is in effect.
If you are experiencing abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone you have not dated and do not have a close relationship with, there is help available. A Civil Harassment Restraining Order can prevent the restrained person from contacting or coming near you and will also prevent the restrained person from having access to firearms.
If you are experiencing this type of abuse, or are concerned for a loved one, you can contact Adult Protective Services in your county. Individuals experiencing elder or dependent adult abuse can request a restraining order from the courts. These orders will prohibit the restrained person from contacting or going near you or others who live with you, and move out of your house if you live together. The order will also prohibit the person from owning or possessing a gun, firearm parts, or ammunition.
It is possible that you may qualify for an Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order and a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If this is your case, talk to a lawyer or legal aid agency to find out what is the best option for you.
Elder and dependent adult abuse includes behavior that causes physical harm, mental pain, or suffering of an adult 65 years of age or older, or an individual 18 and 64 that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep him or her from being able to do normal activities.
Elder and dependent adult abuse can also be closely connected to domestic violence. In these situations, it may be helpful to speak with a domestic violence counselor for support and safety planning.
It is possible that you may qualify for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order and a domestic violence restraining order. If this is your case, talk to a lawyer or legal aid agency to find out what is the best option for you.
Workplace violence can impact and involve employees, clients, customers, and visitors to the workplace. If you are experiencing violence or threats of violence in the workplace, your employer can request a Workplace Violence Restraining Order. An individual cannot request this order — it must be requested by the employer.
As an individual, you can request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, Civil Harassment Restraining Order, or Elder Abuse Restraining Order, depending on the circumstances of the abuse you are experiencing.
If granted, a Workplace Violence Restraining Order can prohibit the abusive or threatening person from harassing or threatening the employee, and contacting or going near the employee. The order also prohibits the person from having a gun.
It is okay for other orders to be in place at the same time as a Workplace Violence Restraining Order (Domestic Violence Restraining Order, Civil Harassment Restraining Order, or Elder Abuse Restraining Order)