5 Steps to Renew Your Gun Rights in Washington State

Your right to own a gun in Washington State will be suspended if convicted of a felony. A conviction for a misdemeanor involving domestic violence will also deprive you of your right to own a gun.

The right to own a gun and the process of regaining the right to own a gun in Washington State are often misunderstood. In Washington, a person's civil rights are restored after all sentencing and probation conditions are met. A criminal conviction restores civil rights when a document called a Release Certificate is filed with the court. However, this does not restore the right to own a gun or any type of firearm. The right to own a firearm is separate and must be specifically restored by the court.

Similarly, a criminal conviction exemption does not restore the right to own a gun. In fact, when a court convicts a criminal conviction, the Order specifically states that the right to possess a firearm is not restored.

In Washington State, there are five steps or criteria that must be met to restore your right to own a gun.

1. You may not have criminal charges against you to obtain a right to recover your firearm. This means that if you are currently charged with any crime in a court in Washington state, federal court or a court in any other state, you are not eligible to be returned the right to own a gun.

2. The time required has passed.
Your right to possess a firearm may be returned to the State of Washington if at least five consecutive years have elapsed without being convicted of any crime. The five-year period applies if the conviction that deprived you of the right to possess a firearm was a Class B or Class C felony. If you were convicted of an offense suspending your right to own a gun, three years must elapse before your right back.

3. You have not been convicted of a crime that permanently prohibits you from possessing a firearm.
Convictions for certain crimes deprive you of your right to possess a gun permanently. In Washington State, if you were convicted of a Class A felony (most serious), you cannot recover your possession of a gun right. In addition, if you have been convicted of a crime in another state or in federal court that would constitute a Class A felony in Washington State, or have a maximum sentence of twenty years or more, Washington state law does not allow your gun rights to be restored. The last category is sex crimes. If you have been convicted of a felony that has been classified as a sex crime under Washington law, then a Washington State court will not refund you the right to possess a gun or other firearm.

4. There is currently no effective court order prohibiting the possession of a firearm.
Condemnation of a crime is not the only means by which your right to possess a weapon in the State of Washington can be taken away. Some criminal court orders and certain civil court orders such as a domestic violence protection order will prohibit possession of a weapon.

5. You have never been forcibly engaged in a mental health facility for treatment.
If you have ever been engaged in a mental health facility without your consent, then you are not entitled to your possession of a firearm in the State of Washington.

As you can see, you can have your right to own a gun refurbished in Washington State if you meet the criteria. In most cases, these 5 steps take only a few weeks.