Protecting Your 2nd Amendment Rights After A Conviction
Most people lose their gun rights following conviction for a felony or certain misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. Not only do these convictions cost you your firearm rights at the state level, but the feds will also put you on a list of people ineligible to possess firearms. See RCW 9.41.040(1), (2) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). A smaller percentage of people lose their gun rights because of mental health issues and alleged drug addiction. One of our attorneys recently represented a client who was contacted by ATF and told he wasn’t allowed to possess firearms because he had a drug addiction. The ATF agent’s evidence was the client’s medical marijuana card. It didn’t matter that the client had not consumed marijuana in months.
While any felony will cost you your gun rights, only convictions for certain domestic violence-related misdemeanors will prevent you from legally possessing firearms. If you have been convicted of a felony, the feds can prosecute you for merely possessing ammunition. At the state level, the following domestic violence misdemeanors will bar you from possessing firearms:
- Assault 4
- Criminal trespass 1
- Reckless endangerment
- Violation of a protection order
At the federal level, the domestic violence offense must involve the use or attempted use of force, or use of a deadly weapon against a family member, guardian, parent of a common child or live-in girlfriend. 18 U.S.C. § 921(33). If a person has been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital under RCW 71.05, RCW 71.34, RCW 10.77, he can’t possess firearms until his rights are restored. RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii). Likewise, under federal law, anyone adjudicated as a “mental defective” or committed to a mental institution loses the right to possess firearms. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). There’s no realistic way to restore firearms rights at the federal level.