What are ‘Red Flag Laws?’ Does North Carolina Need Them?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: ” I’m not getting along with my husband. We’ve been married two weeks and it was a mistake. Can’t I just get an annulment?”


Domestic violence is a serious issue across the United States. Unfortunately, abuse of a partner is all too common and individuals suffer every day because of it. Studies show that approximately 20,000 people make a call to a domestic violence hotline each year. There is not one single type of person who is likely to be an abuser or likely to be abused. However, studies have shown that  there are factors that can increase the likelihood that an abused individual will be seriously injured or even killed.


red-flag-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Domestic-Violence-Attorney-300x225Domestic violence can happen, regardless of the gender of the individuals involved. There are many domestic violence situations that involve a male abuser and a female abused partner. The following are statistics related to the male-female relationship. In an abusive relationship, when the male abusive partner has access to a gun, it increases the likelihood of domestic homicides, according to the National Institute of Health. A woman’s likelihood to be murdered in an abusive relationship can increase five to eight times more when the abuser has access to a gun. If the victim also has access to a firearm, the risk of death went down ever so slightly.


To try and combat instances of domestic violence, some states have passed “red flag laws.” These are gun control laws that are put in place to try and keep weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers. North Carolina has not formally adopted any red flag laws that prohibit the sale of guns or ammunition to those with a record of domestic violence. However, there are laws and statutes put into place to try and combat the danger of an abuser with a weapon.


Common examples of red flag laws include after an order of protection is granted, abusers are unable to purchase guns or ammunition. Orders of protection are granted to keep the abuser away from the victim. Generally, the abuser is required to stay a certain distance away from the victim and usually have zero contact. In states that have red flag laws, if an order of protection is granted the person whom it is against is usually prohibited from buying guns or ammunition. The order of protection is a “red flag” that there may be others in danger if weapons are purchased.


North Carolina has not adopted these types of laws. Gun control is a controversial topic, but it is important to discuss the impact of weapons on domestic violence cases. Even without the red flag law, North Carolina provides various protections to those that are victims of domestic violence. The family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here for you. No one should suffer violence, whether physical or emotional, at the hands of their partner. We are dedicated to getting you the protection you need to stay safe. Orders of protection are an excellent tool to make the abusive partner have to legally stay away from you. Asking for help out of an abusive situation can be difficult, but it is an important step and we are here for you. Contact us today for a consultation and find out what protections might be afforded to you. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.







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