Office of the Judge Advocate General
Idaho National Guard
SUBJECT: Army Implementation of the Lautenberg Amendment
1. Purpose. To provide information on the Army’s implementation of the Lautenberg Amendment.
a. The Lautenberg Amendment to the gun Control Act of 1968, effective 30 September 1996, makes it a felony for those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition. The Amendment also makes it a felony to transfer a firearm or ammunition to an individual known, or reasonably believed, to have such a conviction.
b. Government personnel are not exempt from the Lautenberg Amendment. DoD issued interim guidance on 22 October 1997 and the Army issued interim guidance by ALARACT message on 15 January 1998. Under the interim DoD and Army policies, applicable worldwide, commanders:
(1) will notify all soldiers that it is unlawful to possess firearms and ammunition if they have a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (qualifying conviction);
(2) will conduct local unit files checks and will report soldiers known to have qualifying convictions and soldiers reasonably believed to have such convictions to HQDA through command channels. A MILPER Message (MILPER Message 99-159, CDRPERSCOM, TAPC-PDO-IP, 252145Z May 99, subject: Procedural Guidance on the Reporting of Soldiers Affected by the Lautenberg Amendment) provides updated instructions on reporting soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment to PERSCOM.
(3) will detail soldiers whom commanders have reason to believe have a qualifying conviction to duties that do not require the bearing of weapons or ammunition;
(4) may not take adverse action solely on the basis of an inability to possess a firearm or ammunition due to a qualifying conviction if the act that led to the conviction on or before 30 September 1996 (but may initiate action, including bars to reenlistment or elimination on the basis of an inability to possess a firearm or ammunition, if the act that led to the conviction occurred after that date).
(5) may initiate involuntary separation actions on the basis of the conduct that led to the qualifying conviction, or for a civilian conviction (under AR 635-200, para 14-5), regardless of when the misconduct or conviction occurred.
c. Summary court-martial convictions, non-judicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ, and deferred prosecutions (or similar alternative dispositions) in civilian court do not constitute qualifying convictions within the meaning of the Lautenberg Amendment.
d. The DoD and Army policies do not apply to major weapons systems or crew served weapons such as tanks, missiles and aircraft.
e. The DoD and Army policies also apply to privately owned firearms and ammunition. Commanders must therefore establish procedures addressing soldiers with qualifying convictions who store privately owned weapons in unit arms rooms. Procedures may allow soldiers to sell or transfer their weapons to authorized persons directly without taking physical possession of the weapons in violation of the Lautenberg Amendment.
f. The Army issued additional guidance by ALARACT message on 21 May 1999, which deals with the deployment, assignment, reenlistment and reporting of soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment. Under the additional Army guidance:
(1) all soldiers known to have, or soldiers whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have, a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence are non-deployable for missions that require possession of firearms or ammunition;
(2) soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment are not eligible for overseas assignment, however, soldiers who have already exercised any portion of their PCS entitlements will comply with their overseas assignment; all OCONUS based soldiers will continue to comply with their assignment instructions;
(3) commanders will ensure that newly arrived or assigned soldiers with qualifying convictions or those whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence will not be assigned or attached to TOE or MTOE units and will be denied appointment to leadership positions that would give them access to firearms and ammunition;
(4) soldiers with qualifying convictions or those whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence are not authorized to attend any service school where instruction with individual weapons or ammunition is part of the curriculum;
(5) soldiers with qualifying convictions or those whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence are not authorized to reenlist but may extend for one year if otherwise qualified; and
(6) commanders will report all soldiers identified as non-deployable under this policy in accordance with the MILPER message issued on 25 May 1999.
g. Commanders may seek additional information and assistance from their staff judge advocates. Soldiers who need individual assistance should contact a legal assistance attorney.
The link to the PERSCOM message about procedural guidance on the reporting of soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment is below.
Click on the link below then click on “Expired Messages”. Scroll down to 99-159.
To contact us:
· Lautenberg Amendment