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Restoring Firearm Rights After An Adult Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Conviction

The attorneys of Platt, Thompson and Buescher can help people convicted of domestic violence crimes restore their firearm rights under Washington state law.

Washington State Law:

RCW 9.41.040(4) provides the requirements for restoring gun rights after an adult domestic violence conviction. In general those requirements are the person:

  1. (1) must not have been convicted of a sex offense;
  2. (2) must not have been convicted of any class A felony;
  3. (3) must not have been convicted of any felony that has a maximum sentence of twenty years;
  4. (4) must have spent at least three successive years in the community without being convicted of any crimes;
  5. (5) must not have a current charge pending;
  6. (6) must have no prior felonies which disqualify the person from possessing a firearm that is counted in the person’s offender score; and
  7. (7) must have completed all requirements of the sentence of the disqualifying offense. RCW 9.41.040(4).

The above requirements are necessary to have the right to possess firearms restored on the state level only. The only court that can restore a person’s right to possess firearms is the superior court in the county where the person lives or the court of record that ordered the person to no longer possess firearms.

Federal Law:

Federal law also makes it unlawful for a person to possess a firearm who has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is defined broadly under 18 USC § 921(a)(33). But in general a person is not considered to have been convicted if the conviction has been expunged or set aside, or is an offense for which the person has had civil rights restored. 18 USC § 921(a)(33).

It is critical for a gun rights restoration on the state level to be compatible with federal law. It is necessary to make sure the disqualifying conviction is one that has been “expunged, or set aside or for which a person…has had civil rights restored” so that the disqualifying conviction will not be considered a conviction for purposes of federal law. Case law provides further guidance on this subject.

Caution is still necessary even after the restoration of firearm rights. This is because government has tightened up background checks since the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook. Also government agencies may take time to update their records after a restoration. Our gun right lawyers will advise the client to take “small steps.” Making efforts to give the proper agencies notice of the firearm rights restoration and waiting a reasonable period of time is one step. Other steps may include attempting to obtain a concealed carry license. Ultimately, the goal is to get cleared by the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) because this is the system Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) use to check prospective buyer’s criminal backgrounds.

If you have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor and believe you meet the requirements of RCW 9.41.040 contact Platt, Thompson and Buescher  today to discuss your case. Call  360-474-3994 or contact us online to speak with a firearm rights restoration attorney serving Western Washington, Seattle, King County, Oak Harbor and Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties.