If you’re reading with a gun nearby, and a felony, or DV conviction in your past, be careful! In Washington State, any felony conviction and some misdemeanor DV convictions will result in a loss of the right to possess a firearm. It doesn’t matter whether your conviction has been vacated, or whether the charge was dismissed under some deferral program in a plea deal. As far as cops and prosecutors are concerned, the conviction still prohibits being around guns.
Restoration of 2A rights can be accomplished by way of a Pardon, Annulment, Certification of Rehabilitation, or an order restoring the right to possess firearms from a superior court. This last method is the most commonly used.
A Superior Court will generally issue an order restoring gun rights for an eligible person who makes such a request. Here are the basics: Ten years have elapsed since you satisfied all the obligations of a Class B felony conviction, and five years have elapsed since you satisfied all the requirements of a Class C felony conviction (three years if the conviction was for a misdemeanor), and there are no pending criminal charges or arrest warrants. And, of course, the person must not be prohibited from firearm possession due to some other factor unrelated to the old conviction, such as a mental-health commitment, or a court order that limits firearm rights, such as a protection order, restraining order, or no-contact order. For misdemeanor cases, all conditions of the sentence must be successfully completed.
Some offenses are so serious that a convicted person can never restore firearm rights. These are the sex offenses and Class A felonies, such as homicide, robbery, and other violent crimes.
In Washington, if an eligible person asks (petitions) a Superior Court judge to restore firearm rights, the judge must grant the request. It’s mandatory. The judge cannot refuse the request just because the judge thinks the applicant is a bad actor. On the other side of the coin, the judge cannot grant the request of an ineligible person just because the person has a long list of accomplishments and a fistful of character references. This is a pass/fail test. The applicant either meets the criteria or he doesn’t.
The gun rights attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates are dedicated to helping put firearms back into the hands of qualified people. Call us today for your free consultation.
~ Martha McLaughlin, Sr. Associate