To restore your firearm rights in Washington, you have to file a written motion in the correct court and notify the prosecuting attorney's office.
RCW 9.41.040(4) is the statute the deals with firearms restoration in Washington.
What court do I file my motion?
Under RCW 9.41.040(4)b), you must file your petition to restore your firearms in one of these two courts:
- The "court of record" that took away your firearm rights
- The superior court in the county in which you reside
The superior court is the only court of record in Washington. You cannot file a motion to restore your firearms rights in the district court or the juvenile court.
Example #1: You were convicted to domestic violence assault in Thurston County District Court. Once you are eligible, you can file your restoration motion in Thurston County Superior Court.
Example #2: You were convicted of a felony in King County but now you live in Vancouver. You could file your motion in either Clark County or King County Superior Court.
I don't live in Washington anymore. Can I still restore my firearm rights in Washington?
Under Washington law, you can file your motion to restore your firearm rights in any superior court that terminated your right to use or possess firearms.
Example #1: You live in Georgia but you committed a felony in Seattle when you attended the University of Washington. You can file a motion to restore your Washington firearm rights in King County Superior Court.
Example #2: You live in Idaho but you were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence assault in Spokane County District Court when you use to live in Washington. You cannot restore your rights in Washington.
Why? The district court in Spokane took away your gun rights, but you cannot file a restoration motion in district court. And you cannot file your motion in the superior court in Spokane County because the superior court didn't handle your case. Finally, an Idaho court cannot restore your Washington gun rights.
How much does it cost to file a motion?
The standard filing fee in most Washington courts for filing a gun rights restoration motion is $240.
Do I have to go to court?
This depends on the jurisdiction. In some courts, you will have to appear.
If you have an attorney, you will rarely if ever have to appear. This is probably the biggest reason to consider hiring an attorney to handle your case.
Will the court grant my motion?
Do I have to prove that I am not a danger to the community?
If you meet these requirements, the Court must grant your motion.
You do not have to prove that you are not a danger to the community. You do not have to prove that you can safely handle a weapon. You do not have to prove that you are rehabilitated.
In other words, once you meet the statutory criteria, the judge has no discretion and must restore your rights.
What happens when my firearm rights are restored?
Once your firearms rights are restored, you regain the following rights:
- The right to own, carry, and operate firearms
- You are eligible to apply for a concealed pistol license
- The right to go hunting with a firearm for sport
- The right to go shooting for target practice