Here is the typical procedure for filing a motion to restore your firearm rights in Cowlitz County.
Step #1: File Your Motion in Superior Court
You have to file your motion in Cowlitz County Superior Court. Only superior court judges have the authority to hear firearm restoration motions.
You cannot file your motion in Cowlitz County District Court. If you file in district court, the clerk's office will automatically reject your motion and you'll have to re-start in superior court.
You must file your motion by mail. The Court does not accept filing by fax or email.
You must send your documents to: Cowlitz County Clerk, 312 SW 1st Avenue, Room 233, Kelso, WA 98626.
Step #2: Prepare Your Documents
You have to file the following document in superior court:
- Petition for Restoration of Firearms Rights: This is your formal motion
- Signed declaration: This document certifies that you meet the requirements for restoring under firearm rights under RCW 9.41.040(4). You must sign this document under penalty of perjury.
- Confidential Information Form: Before the clerk's office can create your case, you have to provide certain personal identifying information. You must include your full name, DOB, home address, driver's license number, and last four digits of your social security number. This form remains confidential and is not part of the public record.
- Proposed Order: This is the most important document—the document that you're hoping the Court will sign, restoring your firearm rights. If you prepare it correctly—and it meets the prosecutors' approval—the Court will likely sign the document as is.
Step #3: Wait For Your Case Number
Once it receives your paperwork, the clerk's office will process your case and assign you a case number. The clerk's office will then mail you a conformed copy of your motion. (A conformed copy means a copy of the motion you filed, now with the assigned case number).
This process takes about 1-2 weeks.
If you make any mistakes in the filing process, the clerk's office will return your documents to you, with instructions. You will have to correct the documents before the clerk will accept your case.
You must have an assigned case number to schedule your case for a hearing.
Step #4: Serve the Prosecutor's Office
You are required to serve a copy of your motion on the Cowlitz County Prosecutor's Office, which will review your file and determine whether you're eligible.
You will need to provide the same documents that you initially filed with the Court—minus the confidential information form. You also have to provide a copy of your WATCH Report. This refers to your Washington criminal record, which can be accessed online through the Washington State Patrol (WSP).
Keep in mind that WSP only maintains your Washington criminal record. If you have a criminal record outside Washington, you will need to contact each state and request a copy of your criminal history.
If prosecutors agree that you are eligible, then you are in very good shape. Although a judge is not required to order firearms restoration if both sides agree, it's extremely rare.
If prosecutors object, they will typically file a written objection with the Court. Just because the prosecutors object does notmean that you won't win your motion, but you'll need to address their argument in court.
Step #5: Request a Hearing
Filing your case doesn't automatically get your motion heard in front of judge. To do that. You have to schedule a hearing.
In Cowlitz County, firearms restoration motions are generally heard on the civil motions calendar, which take place on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 1:30 p.m.
FAQ: Cowlitz County Firearms Restoration
Can I file my firearms restoration motion in Cowlitz County Superior Court?
You can file your motion in Cowlitz County if one of the following applies:
You are a resident of Cowlitz County
Example: You live in Vancouver but you were convicted of a felony drug offense in Cowlitz County when you were younger. You can file your motion in Cowlitz County Superior Court because the superior court terminated your firearm rights.
Where is Cowlitz County Superior Court located?
The courthouse address is:
Cowlitz County Superior Court
312 SW 1st Avenue
Kelso, WA 98826
Email: [email protected]
How can I contact the Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney?
Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
312 SW 1st Avenue, First Floor
Kelso, WA 98626
Email: [email protected]