The law in Washington that deals with the restoration of gun rights is RCW 9.41.040(4). This law states that anyone who has had their gun rights taken away due to a felony conviction may have those rights restored if they can show that they are not dangerous to society and have completed rehabilitation terms.
To restore your firearm rights in Washington, you must submit a formal motion to the appropriate court and inform the prosecuting attorney’s office.
At Which Court Do I Submit My Motion?
You must submit your petition to restore your guns to one of these two courts per RCW 9.41.040(4)b:
- The superior court in your county of residence
- The superior court in which your conviction occurred
Example #1: If you’re living in Spokane County and convicted in Whatcom County, you can file your petition in Spokane Superior Court.
Example #2: If you still live in Whatcom County, you will file your petition in Whatcom County’s superior court.
Can I Get My Gun Rights Back in Washington If I’m Not a Resident There?
If you get convicted of a felony in Washington state and your firearm rights have been terminated, you can still restore your gun rights even if you don’t reside in the state. You can submit a motion to the superior court that first revoked your weapons ownership or usage privilege.
If you are a non-resident of Washington convicted of a domestic violence offense, it is essential to understand that you will not be able to regain your gun rights in the state.
That is because you cannot submit a motion to restore your weapons rights in the district court that handled your case — where you lost your gun privileges. And because the superior court in Spokane County did not manage your case, you also cannot submit your motion there.
Is a Cleared Criminal History Required To Regain Gun Rights?
Getting your gun rights back is distinct from getting your criminal convictions overturned or your record cleared. In the state of Washington, a clear criminal record is not a requirement to regain your gun rights.
If convicted of a felony or violent crime, you may need to have your civil rights restored by the court before you can begin the process of petitioning for your gun rights.
If I’m Being Investigated for a Crime Right Now, Can I Get My Gun Rights Back?
If you are currently going through procedures for a crime, you cannot get your gun rights back in Washington, including those on probation.
You will need to wait until the investigation is complete before you can get your gun rights back. And if you have a firearm while being investigated for a crime, you will get charged with a felony.
What Is the Cost of Filing a Motion?
The cost of filing a motion to restore your gun rights in Washington State can vary depending on the county in which you file. Generally, you can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for filing fees. However, if you are unable to pay the fees, you may be able to request a fee waiver from the court.
You should contact the court clerk where you plan to file your motion to determine whether a fee will be required and, if so, how much the payment will be.
Do I Need To Appear in Court?
It depends. Different jurisdictions may require you to appear in person.
However, seeking legal assistance before going to court is highly recommended. With an attorney, most often than not, you avoid having to show up in person in court.
The Court Will Allow My Motion, Right?
If you meet the requirements outlined in RCW 9.41.040, the court must allow your motion to get your gun rights back in Washington. Specifically, you must:
- Have completed all terms of your sentence, including any period of parole or probation
- Have not been convicted of other felony offenses in Washington or another jurisdiction since the completion of your sentence.
If you can show that you satisfy these requirements, the court will likely grant your motion and restore your gun rights.
You do not need to provide evidence that you pose a threat to the community to have your gun rights restored, as is the case in several other jurisdictions. Additionally, providing proof that you can handle a firearm responsibly or of your criminal rehabilitation is not required.
When My Gun Rights Get Reinstated, What Happens?
You have the right to possess, transport, and use a weapon in Washington state. You may purchase and possess a handgun, long gun, or antique firearm. There is no limit on the number of weapons you can buy or maintain.
You are qualified to apply for a concealed pistol license (CPL) to carry a concealed weapon in Washington state. The application process includes a background check and fingerprinting. In addition, you must complete a firearms training course if you get approved for a permit.
The right to use a firearm while hunting as a sport has restrictions in Washington state. You must obtain a license and follow all game regulations. If convicted of certain felonies or misdemeanors, a prohibition of obtaining a hunting license may be in place.
After your motion to get your gun rights back is granted in Washington, you will regain the right to practice shooting targets. It includes both live and dummy targets. You will also be able to use a firearms training simulator (FTA) if accepted into the police force as long as it is under the supervision of a certified instructor.
Will I Get My Motion Approved Even if I Am Eligible?
Even if you are eligible to have your gun rights reinstated, there is no guarantee that they will be. The decision to restore someone’s gun rights is up to the court, and the court will consider several factors when making its decision.
If you want to restore your firearm rights in Washington, it’s best to hire an attorney to help you file a motion. At Betancourt Law, we can help you with this process and ensure everything gets done correctly. So contact us to restore your firearm rights and schedule a consultation today.