Although the Second Amendment in theory enshrines the right to legal firearm ownership, the reality is that there are numerous scenarios in which people cannot lawfully own firearms. Those diagnosed with certain mental health conditions and those convicted of certain crimes may find themselves unable to pass the background check typically necessary to legally purchase a firearm or secure certain firearm-related licenses.
Washington state has numerous rules that help those with criminal issues in their past move on with their lives. Redemption laws in Washington allow people to seal certain criminal records and may also help individuals regain their firearm ownership privileges when they lost them due to a criminal conviction.
How do you reinstate firearm ownership rights in Washington?
You will have to go back to court
If you want to lawfully possess a firearm after the state convicts you of certain crimes or you plead guilty, the courts will also have to reinstate your ownership rights. Filing your petition for firearm rights reinstatement is one of the crucial first steps in the process.
You need to file the appropriate paperwork either with the specific court that imposed restrictions on your firearm rights or the superior court in the county where you live. You will then need to attend a hearing where a judge will make a determination about whether or not to allow you to lawfully own a firearm.
Those convicted of certain offenses, including drug crimes and sexual assaults, will typically not be eligible to reinstate their firearm rights. Additionally, those who lost their firearm rights in other states will not be able to restore them in Washington.
The good news is that you don’t have to seal or expunge your criminal record to qualify to restore your firearm rights. You won’t have to go to court multiple times to regain your right to possess and use firearms lawfully. In fact, your attorney can potentially handle the entire matter on your part.
Provided that your lawyer can successfully convince the courts that you meet the specific legal requirements set forth in state law, they will not have to prove anything regarding your ability to use a firearm or your rehabilitation following your conviction. If your request is successful, you can possess and own firearms and may even be able to secure a concealed pistol license.
Learning more about how you can move on from a previous criminal conviction through redemption law in Washington can help you pursue a brighter future.