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Regaining your legal right to hunt and protect your family.
In the State of Washington, anyone convicted of a felony, whether in Washington or elsewhere, loses their right to vote and their right to possess firearms upon conviction. Your right to vote returns automatically with the completion of your sentence (but you do need to re-register). Your right to bear arms, however, remains lost until you ask for back and your request is granted.
If you have lost your right due to a Washington State felony, you may usually petition the State for the restortarion of your right 5 years after your most recent conviction.
Until your right is restored, you are at risk of being arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm. This mean no trips to the range and possibly no visits with certain friends or relatives. Simply being in the same room as an unlocked gun puts you at risk of arrest, even if it's not yours.
Unlike vacation requests, Washington courts do not have the discretion to say "No" when you petition for your firearm rights and you are eligible. If you meet all the prerequisites the court must restore your right. Do not confuse this with being an automatic restoration, as you aboslutely must go through the process of petititioning the court. There is more to being eligible than just waiting 5 years, contact an attorney to confirm your eligibility.
Your firearm rights may have been lost even without felony conviction. If you have ever been concivted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, have been the subject of a restraining order, or have been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, you have probably lost your rights. In cases of involutary commitment you are also capable of petitioning the court, though the prerequisites are different and require that the court find that your previous "symptoms related to the commitment are not reasonably likely to recur."
Those who have lost their firearm possession rights due to a domestic violence related conviction might find themselves in a pinch. Washington State has a petition process similar to the felony precess discussed above. However, a State restoration of possession rights lost due to a domestic violence conviction does not necessarily restore your Federal posession rights. The State and Federal definitions of domestic violence for firearm rights purposes are different. That means some who lost their State rights did not lose their Federal right, and vice versa. Speak with an attorney to determine how the laws pertain to yur specific situation. You might have lost both rights, or none at all!
Once lost, the only way to regain your right to possess firearms is to petition the court. Contact an attorney to determine whether you can file your petition now, or when you become eligible. An experienced attorney can usually help you file your petition for a low flat fee.
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