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Am I prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law?

There are two types of firearm bans:  federal bans and state bans.  

Federal firearm bans apply in every state or United States territory in which are you are present.  In other words, you can't move out of Washington to avoid a federal firearm ban.

Each state, including Washington, has its own firearm laws.  State laws can be more restrictive than federal law but they cannot be less restrictive.  

Federal Firearms Law

Under federal law, only citizens and lawful permanent residents who are at least 18 years of age can possess or sell firearms or ammunition.  

Under 18 U.S.C. 922(g), you also cannot possess firearms or ammunition if one of the following applies:

1. You have been convicted in any court (federal, state, tribal, county, or civil) of a crime with a maximum punishment of more than one year in prison

Because every felony offense in Washington carries a maximum possible punishment of more than one year in state prison, any Washington felony conviction automatically triggers a federal firearm ban.  

2. You have been convicted of a domestic violence crime that meets the definition of "domestic violence" under federal law

The definition of "domestic violence is broader under Washington law than it is under federal law.

Under Washington law, any crime committed against a "family or household member" qualifies as a domestic violence offense.  

By contrast, under federal law, you are guilty of a domestic violence offense only if the offense involves the use or attempted use of a deadly weapon or the use or attempted use of physical force.

Example:  You are convicted of trespass in the first degree after entering your ex-girlfriend's workplace.  Under Washington law, you have committed a domestic violence offense because your ex-girlfriend qualifies as a "family or household member."  

But under federal law, you have not committed a domestic violence offense because physical force is not a required element to be convicted of trespass.

3. You are under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year
4. You are a fugitive from justice
5. You have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or you have been deemed mentally defective
6. You are subject to a court order that restrains you from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of that intimate partner

If you are subject to a restraining order in Washington State court, you will very likely be subject for a restraining order for purposes of federal law.  That is because the restraining order prohibitions under state and federal law are nearly identical, 

7. You are an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance

Under federal law, a drug addict means someone whose drug use is “sufficiently consistent, prolonged, and close in time to his gun possession.” 

That language comes from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court that has jurisdiction over all federal courts in Washington.

Please all note that the possession of marijuana, while legal in Washington, is still illegal under federal law. 

8. You have been dishonorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. military 

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