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Restoration of Gun Rights

Under Washington law, there is no automatic process to have your firearm rights restored. Sometimes, a court will automatically restore some civil rights after a person completes a felony criminal sentence (for example, the right to vote or serve on a jury).

Gun rights are never automatically restored. Even if a person petitions a court and has their criminal conviction “vacated” (removed from their record), this does NOT automatically restore the right to possess firearms. The only way to get your rights restored is to petition a county Superior Court to have your rights formally restored.

The easiest way for most people get their firearms rights restored is to file these petitions is to hire an attorney experienced in this type of work. Although there will be a cost to hire the attorney, most people will save a great deal of time and frustration trying to figure out the court system and the paperwork.

There are a number of steps involved in successfully petitioning to have your firearms rights restored. These include: Filing the petition in the proper county Superior Court; Serving copies of your petition on all necessary parties; Documenting all necessary information to show that you meet the legal requirements for getting your rights restored; Scheduling hearings with a judge & filing a note for motion; Attending the scheduled court hearing; Drafting & filing a proposed order restoring firearm rights for the judge to sign; Filing a copy of the judge’s signed order with the appropriate law enforcement agencies to ensure you clear future background checks; Other steps as needed.

When in doubt, anyone considering petitioning to have their firearm rights restored should always consult with an experienced attorney before getting started.

RCW 9.41.040 – Unlawful possession and restoration of rights

RCW 9.41.047 – Mental health gun rights restoration

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