Can you legally own a firearm in Washington state even if you have a criminal record? Many times the answer is yes, but you must first meet eligibility criteria. The basic requirements to get Washington gun rights restored are:
- It’s been five years since a felony conviction.
- It’s been three years since a misdemeanor conviction.
- You have no pending criminal charges
- You have no warrants for your arrest
- You are not barred from possessing a firearm for other reasons such as a restraining order or mental-health commitment
Even if you meet the requirements, the state doesn’t automatically restore gun rights. Unlike voting privileges, which require nothing but time between you and conviction, you must take action to get back the right to a firearm. Your criminal defense lawyer must petition a superior court to restore the right to own a firearm. Even a vacated conviction will not end with the automatic restoration of gun rights.
Some offenses are considered too severe to restore gun rights. Those convicted of a sex offense or a Class A felony such as homicide and robbery are not eligible for the restoration of gun rights.
How Are Washington Gun Rights Lost?
Your right to possess a gun in Washington is lost if you are:
- Convicted of a felony criminal offense
- Convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor crime
- Found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity
- Are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment
- Are subject to a restraining order
If you’ve lost your right to a gun, it’s a violation of the law for you to possess a firearm, ammunition or even incomplete parts of a gun. You could be charged with a crime if you live in a home where another person stores a gun. Just having a gun nearby, even if it’s not yours, could put you at risk for an unlawful firearm possession charge.
Many people seeking the restoration of gun rights have put past mistakes behind them. They want to enjoy hunting or target practice. They may want a gun for security. Even those who don’t want to own a gun may petition to have their rights restored to avoid the risk of inadvertently being in violation of the law.
How to Get Washington Gun Rights Restored
The process of gun rights restoration is complicated. The lawyers at Northwest Legal Advocates will help you petition the court. The process includes:
- Filing a petition in a Washington county superior court
- Providing documents showing eligibility
- Scheduling hearings with a judge
- Filing a motion
- Attending court hearings
- Drafting legal documents
- Filing the judge’s order with law enforcement
- Other steps as required
Criminal Defense in Vancouver, Washington
The attorneys of Northwest Legal Advocates are former prosecutors with in-depth knowledge of Clark County courts and Washington state law. Contact our office for help restoring your right to own a firearm.