To petition to restore your firearm rights in Washington, you have to file a written motion in the correct court and serve a copy on the prosecutor's office.
Where do I file my motion?
Under RCW 9.41.040(4)b), you must file your petition to restore your firearms in one of two places
- The "court of record" that took away your firearm rights
- The superior court in the county in which you reside
A "court of record" is the superior court but a juvenile court is also a "court of record." This is because, technically, juvenile court is not an independent court but rather a division of the superior court.
Example: You pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault in Thurston County District Court. Once you are eligible, you would 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 King County Superior Court or Clark County Superior Court.
Example #3: You pleaded guilty to a felony in Snohomish County juvenile court when you were 17 years old. Today you are 35 years old and live in Olympia. Where can you file your motion? Three possibilities:
- Snohomish County juvenile court (the court that took away your rights)
- Thurston County Superior Court (county in which you live)
- Snohomish County Superior Court (also a "court of record" in which you were convicted)
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.
Keep in mind that even though you lost your firearm rights because of a criminal conviction (felony or a DV misdemeanor), you have to file a separate civil motion to restore your right.
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. In most courts, your attorney can appear and present your motion to the judge. This is probably the biggest reason to hire an attorney to handle your case.
Will the court grant my motion?
If you satisfy the statutory requirements to restore your firearm rights, then the trial court must grant your petition.
In other words, the trial judge doesn't have the discretion to deny your request based on some other reason unrelated to the statutory criteria.
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