What Does the Law Say About Firearm Possession in Washington State?
The right to possess a firearm is enshrined in the US constitution. However, the same constitution recognizes reasonable regulation of weapons. Under 18 USC 922(g), it’s illegal for a person to possess a firearm or ammunition if they:
- Were convicted of any felony in Washington state
- Have ever been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor
- Have renounced their US citizenship
- Are an illegal alien
- Are mentally defective, or have been committed to a mental institution
- They are addicted or use illegal drugs
- They are in the US on a non-immigrant visa
- Were dishonorably discharged
- Are under the age of 18
- Are free on bond on personal recognizance pending trial, sentencing, or appeal for a severe offense
- Had non-felony, serious offense charges dismissed by a court after being found incompetent
If any of the above conditions apply to you, the law prohibits you from possessing a firearm. Consult a skilled Seattle criminal justice attorney to learn about your options and what you can do to restore your firearm possession rights.
Domestic Violence and Firearms Possession
Washington laws prohibit anyone convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing a firearm. Alternatively, if you were found not guilty of the charge because of insanity, you may not possess a firearm.
Such domestic crimes committed against a household or family member, or intimate partner include the following:
- Assault in the 4th degree
- Criminal trespass in the 1st degree
- Reckless endangerment
- Violation of the provisions of a protection order
The law also prohibits you from possessing a firearm if you’re subject to a protective order. A Seattle gun crimes lawyer explains more about protective orders in relation to gun possession in Washington:
Extreme Risk Protection Orders
If you were convicted of violent crimes or posed a high risk of harming yourself or others, an Extreme Risk Protection Order may be filed against you. Your family members or law enforcement officers may obtain an ERPO when there is substantial evidence that you are a threat to yourself or others. The purpose is to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries.
Once issued an Extreme Risk Protection Order, you must surrender your firearm and not obtain a concealed pistol. It’s also illegal to purchase or have control of weapons even if you’re already licensed. Consult a Seattle gun crimes lawyer to learn more about your options if an ERPO is filed against you.
Driving Under the Influence and Access to Firearms
The collateral consequences of a DUI conviction in Seattle can be devastating. For example, it may limit some of the constitutional rights you thought you had forever. Specifically, a DUI conviction involving a firearm may lead to losing the right to possess one. You also might lose the right to carry a concealed gun, depending on the severity of the offense.
Washington State Concealed Carry Laws
The Revised Code of Washington (RWC) 46.61.502 states that you can be arrested and convicted of a DUI within Washington if you drive a vehicle:
- While under the influence of marijuana, drugs, or intoxicating liquor
- While under the combined influence of drugs, marijuana, or intoxicating liquor
- You have a THC concentration of 5.0 or more within two hours of driving
- You have a BAC of 0.08% or more within two hours of driving
A DUI in Washington could be charged as a felony if you had four or more DUI charges within the last ten years or a previous conviction of vehicular assault or homicide. Besides, the DUI charge can move from a gross misdemeanor to a Class B felony if you had one or more aggravating factors associated with your case.
Gun Ownership Rights After a Felony DUI
Upon conviction of a felony DUI, you will lose the right to possess a firearm in Washington. If found with one, you’ll be charged with a new crime.
However, you may still be entitled to have a concealed carry if you get a DUI unless you:
- Lost your rights to own a firearm due to a felony conviction
- Are ineligible under the federal law
- Have a pending arrest warran
- Have a pending felony case in court
- Were ordered to forgo your forearm within the past year of applying for the permit
A felony DUI makes you ineligible to own or possess a firearm and to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit. You can talk to a skilled gun crimes attorney in Seattle to guide you on whether you can have your rights restored and the legal steps to follow in the process.
When Can I Have My Right to Firearm Possession Restored?
The law allows you to file a petition to restore your firearm rights. However, your eligibility depends on two crucial factors:
- The nature and extent of the underlying conviction
- How long you have been crime-free since the last conviction or release from custody
For non-felony offenses, your gun crimes attorney in Seattle can petition the court on your behalf after three consecutive years in the community without another criminal charge. However, you must have fulfilled the conditions of the original sentence and have no prior convictions restricting you from firearm possession.
For felony convictions, there is a waiting period of five consecutive years in the community without any criminal charge. You also must not have previous felony convictions restricting you from possessing a firearm.
Class A Felony
If you were convicted of a Class A felony or sex crime, Washington laws would prohibit you from restoring your gun rights.
The only way out is to seek an annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or Presidential Pardon to get your rights back. This is true even if you committed the offense as a juvenile.
Fight to Have Your Firearm Rights Restored
If you lost your firearm rights due to a specific conviction as per Washington laws, you might have your rights restored under particular circumstances. The process and the law around the restoration of these rights are complex, but a skilled criminal justice attorney in Seattle can come to your defense. They can fight aggressively to uphold your constitutional rights despite your past mistakes.
Our gun crimes attorney in Seattle has been providing aggressive legal representation for clients seeking to restore their firearm possession rights. We believe that a past criminal record doesn’t necessarily define your future, and everyone deserves a second chance. For legal counsel and representation on your gun rights, contact us today.