Restoring Your Right to Possess a Firearm

Possession of a firearm is prohibited under Washington law upon conviction of a felony, certain gross misdemeanors, and under other circumstances.

You may restore your right to possess a firearm if you meet certain eligibility criteria and obtain an Order from the Superior Court.

This FAQ answer is intended to provide general information regarding eligibility and the process in Superior Court.  It is not intended to be legal advice.  You are encouraged to obtain the advice of a lawyer.

The successful restoration of your right to possess a firearm will not expunge any criminal convictions from your record.

Obtaining an Order of the Superior Court restoring your right to possess a firearm does not guarantee that a concealed pistol license or any other firearm permit or license will be issued to you. 

Obtaining an Order of the Superior Court restores only your state right to possess a firearm under Washington law.  Federal law and state law on firearm possession are different in certain circumstances.  If you are prohibited from possessing a firearm by federal law, you may be prosecuted in federal court.  Restoration of your state right is not a defense to a federal prosecution.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  1. You may not have any criminal charges pending in the State of Washington or in any other state, or in any federal court.
  2. You may not be subject to any court domestic violence restraining order, injunction or other order, either civil or criminal.
  3. You may not have a conviction for any class A felony, or any felony having a maximum sentence of at least twenty (20) years.
  4. You may not have a conviction for any felony sex offense.
  5. You must have spent a minimum period of consecutive years in the community without being convicted of any felony, gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor crimes.  For eligible felonies the period is five (5) years and for non-felony crimes the period is three (3) years.
  6. You must have successfully completed every term and condition of each conviction.

THE PROCESS TO OBTAIN A SUPERIOR COURT ORDER

The following information does not cover restoration of the right to possess a firearm resulting from your involuntary commitment for mental health treatment.  In such circumstances, you must comply with RCW 9.41.047 and to restore your right.

Douglas County forms for a Petition, a Note for Motion/Hearing and an Order/Certificate are links at this website.  These forms are available for your use and have been approved by the Prosecuting Attorney and the Superior Court.  These forms may not be applicable to your circumstances.  Also, the law may have changed since these forms were drafted.  You are encouraged to consult a lawyer before using these forms or if you have any questions about these forms or the process for restoring your firearm rights.

  1. Carefully read and complete the Petition.  By signing the Petition under penalty of perjury you are certifying that each statement in the Petition is true.
  2. You must obtain a certified copy of an Order from each court in which you have a conviction and for each conviction.  Each Order must certify that you have successfully completed every term and condition of the conviction and are discharged from any further requirements.  Each certified Order must be attached to the Petition.
  3. You must obtain certified copies of your record of criminal convictions.  A certified copy of your local criminal record must be obtained from your local Sheriff’s Office.  The Sheriff’s Office can also provide you with a form to send to the Washington State Patrol to obtain your state and national criminal record.  There will be a fee for each copy charged by each agency.  Each certified copy of your criminal history must be attached to the Petition.
  4. Sign and file the Petition with the Douglas County Clerk.  There will be a filing fee.
  5. When you file the Petition, the Douglas County Clerk will advise you of the available dates and times for your hearing in the Superior Court.  The hearing must be at least ten (10) days after the Petition is filed.  Complete the Note for Motion/Hearing, fill in the date and time of the hearing and sign it.  File the Note for Motion/Hearing with the Douglas County Clerk.  If you do not have a hearing within thirty (30) days after filing the Petition, then you must provide updated copies of your criminal record from the Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol.
  6. Make three (3) copies of the Petition, attachments and the Note for Motion/Hearing.  Do this before filing.  The Douglas County Clerk will confirm each set of copies.  Retain a set for your records.  Give one set to the Douglas County Clerk for the Judge’s working copies.  Serve one set on the Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in the Douglas County Courthouse, Waterville.  The Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is entitled to at least seven (7) days prior notice of the hearing, so make service as soon as possible.
  7. Complete and sign the Order/Certificate form before the scheduled hearing.
  8. Call the Prosecuting Attorney's office at 745-8535 before the hearing.  If the Prosecuting Attorney's Office has no objection to your Petition, the Prosecuting Attorney will sign off on the Order. 
  9. Appear in the Douglas County Superior Court on the date and time of the hearing.  Give the Judge the Certificate form.  At the hearing you may be required to testify under oath regarding the contents of the Petition and answer any questions which are asked by the Prosecuting Attorney or the Judge. 
  10. If the Judge restores your right to possess a firearm and signs the Order/Certificate, then obtain a certified copy of the Order/Certificate from the Douglas County Clerk.  There will be a fee charged for the certified copy.