How to Restore Your Gun Rights in Washington State
Let’s say you’ve been involved in a crime, and you’ve been arrested and now have a criminal record. Because of your criminal record, you may have lost your right to own a firearm. This is especially true if you have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
You’re probably wondering if there’s any way to restore your right to purchase and own a firearm. The answer is yes. But getting your gun rights back is a difficult process, and not everyone qualifies.
Continue reading if you have a felony conviction in Washington State and would like to restore your gun rights. It may be possible for you to apply to have your firearm rights restored.
Causes of Firearm or Gun Rights Revocation
First, we need to take a look at the causes of gun rights or firearm revocation in Washington. A felony conviction or a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction are two of the most common reasons someone loses their right to possess a firearm in Washington or any other state.
Another reason someone’s gun rights may be taken away is because of a no-contact order or restraining order that prohibits possessing firearms. To determine whether your restraining order prohibits the possession of firearms, consult a lawyer. Also, involuntary admission to a mental hospital may result in the loss of firearm rights.
If your firearms rights are revoked, they are revoked permanently unless the court restores them. Only the Superior Court in Washington has the authority to reinstate your gun rights.
Eligibility for Restoring Gun Rights and Possession of a Firearm
In Washington, a person who has been convicted of a Class A felony or a sex offense is never qualified to have their gun rights restored. However, some individuals may be able to obtain a pardon for other felony convictions if they have abstained from all other criminal activity for a predetermined period of time.
Here are other basic requirements needed to get your gun rights restored:
- You are not currently facing any other charges in Washington or elsewhere.
- It has been more than five years since your felony conviction, which led to the revocation of your firearms license, or three years for your domestic violence misdemeanor conviction.
- You haven't been found guilty of a sexual offense or a class A felony.
- You have never been found guilty of a felony crime involving a firearm.
- You haven't had a firearm forfeited for a drug or alcohol-related incident in the previous five years.
- You have fulfilled all requirements of your sentence if you were found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.
Steps For Getting Your Gun Rights Restored in Washington State
If you are wondering if you are eligible to have your gun rights restored, you should immediately speak to an experienced and skilled Expungement Attorney. It is difficult to get your gun rights back after a serious offense, so you should have legal counsel throughout the process. It’s important you have someone at your side throughout the process who understands what is at stake.
Step 1: File A Written Motion
In order to restore your gun rights in Washington State, you have to file a written motion in the correct court and notify the prosecuting attorney’s office.
The motion must state that you wish to have your gun rights restored and must provide a reason for why you believe that your gun rights should be restored. Once the motion is filed, the court will review the motion and determine whether or not to grant you your gun rights.
Under RCW 9.41.040 (4), you can file a motion with:
- The Court of Record
- For example, if your gun rights were taken away by an "A" court order, you would need to go to that court to have your gun rights restored.
- The Superior Court
- For example, the Superior Court is the highest court in the state of Washington and is responsible for the restoration of gun rights. The court has the power to hear appeals from lower courts and to issue writs of habeas corpus. The Superior Court also has the power to restore gun rights to individuals who have been convicted of a felony. In order to restore gun rights, you must file a petition with the court and demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated and pose no threat to public safety.
The Court of Record is the court that took away your right to own a gun, whereas the Superior Court is the court of the place where you reside. You must file your motion with one or the other.
Your rights will be restored if you satisfy the criteria listed under RCW 9.41.040(4), depending on whether you were convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor.
Unlike other states, you will not have to prove you aren’t a danger to the community. You are also not required to provide evidence that you can handle a weapon safely, and you do not have to prove that you are criminally rehabilitated.
If you meet all the RCW 9.41.040(4) requirements, the Court must grant your motion and restore your firearm rights.
Step 2: Restore Your Gun Rights Federally
Once your rights are restored, your attorney will ensure that all government agencies update their data systems and records on your behalf. Once these records are updated, your gun rights are restored federally, and you can pass background checks from any Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer (FFD).
You will be permitted to possess, carry, and use firearms once your gun rights have been reinstated. You may also legally apply for a license to carry a concealed weapon.
How Much Does It Cost to File a Motion?
It costs $240 to file a motion for gun restoration. This fee is for the initial filing fee and does not include any additional costs that may be incurred during the course of the proceedings. Some of these additional costs could include legal fees or costs to obtain court or law enforcement records.
Do I Need to Clear My Criminal Record Before Filing for Restoration?
There is no need to clear your criminal record before filing for restoration. However, it’s important to disclose the nature of your criminal record to your attorney. When they have all the facts, your attorney will be able to determine if your history will have any impact on your ability to restore your civil rights. If it will, then you can follow these steps to get your record expunged, vacated, or sealed.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it may seem like a daunting task to get your gun rights restored. However, it doesn’t have to be! Get in touch with our team at Washington Record Expungement today as we can help you restore your gun rights in the State of Washington.