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1997 September 18

Reserve Law Officers

Association of America

National Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

The following is the text of a PRESS RELEASE issued on March 16, 1997 relating to the new federal law prohibiting firearm possession by anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.


CONTACT: Paul Scott Abbott, public information officer on

call 24 hours, phone (954) 962-2503 or pager (305) 277-1065



WASHINGTON—A change in federal firearms law could result I more than 60,000 sworn U.S. law officers having to turn in their guns, according to results of a special survey conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP).

A confidential poll of police chiefs and other law agency heads found 11.4 percent of those responding stating at least one officer in their department would be affected by the new law that prohibits carrying a gun by anyone ever convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. The law does not exempt police, security personnel, soldiers nor citizens already otherwise in possession of a firearm.

“With some 600,000 sworn officers in the nation, that could well translate to more than 60,000 officers having to turn in their weapons and in all likelihood, losing their jobs,” said Gerald S. Arenberg, NACOP’s founding director. “In addition to putting tens of thousands of public servants our of work, this obviously would have a very serious negative impact upon our nation’s law enforcement capabilities.”

The new law is an amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 and was enacted as part of last fall’s Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act. Although it went into effect Sept. 30 the law applies retroactively, thereby prohibiting from receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition by anyone with a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction on his lifelong criminal record.

Responses were obtained from more than 10 percent of the 18,100 agency heads mailed surveys last month. In response to other questions:

  • 93.2 percent said they believe the constitutionality of the new law should be tested in federal court.
  • 86.1 percent said they believe the federal government should pay for additional research into backgrounds of gun permit applicants, as necessitated by the new law.
  • 90 percent nonetheless said their agency does not have the ability to go back 30 or more years in checking for misdemeanor domestic violations.

The association is also seeking the name of any officer who may be subject to this law who we will represent in court to test the law. There is no cost to these officers.

A copy of the poll is available by writing to the National Association of Chiefs of Police, 3801 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Revised September 18, 1997

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