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How do I restore my firearm rights under federal law?

To restore your right to to possess or own firearms in Washington, you must follow Washington's restoration procedure in state court.

This is not the same thing, however, as restoring your federal right to possess or own firearms.   

Can you restore your federal firearm rights using Washington's restoration procedure if you have a state law conviction?

Yes.  

Under federal law--specifically 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20)--whether you have a "conviction" for federal purposes of a federal gun ban is determined by "the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held."

In other words, you can restore your federal rights by virtue of restoring your Washington state firearm rights in Washington state court.   

Unlike in Washington (and many other states), there is not a separate restoration procedure in federal court for restoring your federal firearm rights.  

Therefore, the main question is whether Washington's restoration procedure allows you regain your federal firearm rights and your state firearm rights.   The answer:  it depends.  

Can you restore your federal firearm rights using Washington's restoration procedure if you have a state law conviction?

Yes.  

Under federal law--specifically 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20)--whether you have a "conviction" for federal purposes of a federal gun ban is determined by "the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held."

In other words, you can restore your federal rights by virtue of restoring your Washington state firearm rights in Washington state court.   

Can you restore your federal firearm rights using Washington's restoration procedure if you have a state law conviction?

Yes.  

Under federal law--specifically 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20)--whether you have a "conviction" for federal purposes of a federal gun ban is determined by "the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held."

In other words, you can restore your federal rights by virtue of restoring your Washington state firearm rights in Washington state court.   

Can you restore your federal firearm rights using Washington's restoration procedure if you have a federal law conviction?

No.  

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state restoration procedure does not remove a federal firearm ban if the ban arose from a federal felony conviction (i.e. a conviction in federal court).  

Your only option is to apply for a presidential pardon, which is rarely if ever granted.  

Is a courts martial conviction considered a federal conviction?

Yes.  

In the military, courts-martial are trials that try members of the U.S. military for crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  The UCMJ is federal law, enacted by Congress, and lists all criminal offenses under military law.  Think of the UCMJ as the equivalent of all the RCWs in Washington State.

For this reason, a courts-martial conviction is effectively a federal conviction, not a state conviction.  A conviction at a general court-martial, for example, is equivalent to a felony conviction in a U.S. federal district court. 

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