Missouri SB 23 - Firearm Restraining Orders / by Charles Yeganian


This act allows a law enforcement officer or a person who is a family or household member of someone who is believed to pose a danger of causing injury to him or herself or another by use of a weapon to file a petition with the court for a firearms restraining order. A firearms restraining order prohibits a person or the “respondent” from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or having in his or her custody or control any firearms.

Upon filing a petition for a firearms restraining order, a summons shall be issued requiring the respondent to answer or appear within seven days. The court shall order a hearing within thirty days of the petition being filed. The petitioner shall not be charged court costs or filing fees or fees charged by a sheriff or other law enforcement agency for service of process. At the hearing the court must considered certain evidence as provided in the act. The petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is a danger by having or obtaining a firearm. A firearms restraining order is effective for six months unless terminated or renewed by the court.

Additionally, upon a finding of probable cause that the respondent possesses a firearm, the court will issue a search warrant for law enforcement to seize the respondent’s firearm or firearms.

If the respondent poses an immediate and present danger, the petitioner may file for an emergency firearms restraining order, issued on an ex parte basis. A hearing shall be held on the same day the petition is filed or the next day that the court is in session. At the ex parte hearing, the court must find probable cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury by having or obtaining a firearm. Upon the issuance of an emergency firearms restraining order and a finding of probable cause that the respondent possesses a firearm, the court shall issue a warrant to seize any of the respondent’s firearms. A full hearing shall be scheduled within fourteen days of the issuance to determine if a six month firearms restraining order shall be issued.

An emergency firearms restraining order and a six month firearms restraining order require the respondent to refrain from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm and to turn over to a local law enforcement agency all firearms in his or her possession. If applicable, the respondent must turn over his or her concealed carry permit to the issuing sheriff’s office. The respondent may petition the court to have his or her firearms transferred to another person for the duration of the order. Upon the expiration of the firearm restraining order, if the firearm’s cannot be returned because the respondent cannot be located or fails to respond to requests to retrieve the firearms, the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearms may petition the court to destroy or use the firearms for other purposes.

At anytime during the six month period of a firearms restraining order, the respondent may petition the court one time to have the order terminated. The respondent must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent does not pose a danger of causing injury by possessing or obtaining a firearm.

Within three months of the firearms restraining order expiring, the petitioner may petition the court for the order to be renewed for an additional six months.

The clerk of the court shall file all firearms restraining orders with the sheriff or other law enforcement official charged with serving the order upon the respondent. The clerk shall also issue a copy of the order to the Missouri State Highway Patrol who shall enter the information contained in the order into the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System.

Any firearms restraining orders issued by another state, tribe, or territory shall be enforceable in the same manner as any firearms restraining order issued by a court in Missouri.

A person who violates a firearms restraining order is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor or a Class E felony for subsequent offenses committed within five years of the previous offense.

Finally, if a court denies the issuance of a firearms restraining order then the proceeding shall be immediately expunged from the court records. All firearms restraining orders granted shall be sealed three years after the expiration of the order.
— Charley Merriweather