Loss of Gun Rights from Domestic Violence

gun rightsThe Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act makes it a felony to possess firearms or ammunition if you have been convicted of certain misdemeanor domestic violence (DV) crimes.

Under the Amendment, a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means that the person was (1) convicted of a misdemeanor crime that (2) involved the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon and (3) the individual must have had a familial or family-like relationship with the victim.

What misdemeanor DV charges will affect my gun rights?

In Washington State, a domestic violence conviction for 4th Degree Assault, coercion, stalking, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass in the first degree, or violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order will result in a loss of firearm rights.

Misdemeanor property crime convictions for 3rd Degree Malicious Mischief or Destruction of Property do not automatically result in the loss of gun rights. However, a judge can restrict your right to bear arms as part of a criminal sentence.

What felony DV charges will affect my gun rights?

In WA State, any felony conviction will result in a loss of firearm rights.

What is considered a “conviction?”

A plea of guilty, a jury verdict of guilty, or a disposition by way of a deferred sentence are all considered convictions under Washington State law. A “pretrial diversion agreement” or a “stipulated order of continuance” are not considered convictions in relation to firearm rights. Your attorney should advise you if one of these outcomes is favorable or can be negotiated.

I am in the military. How will a loss of gun rights affect my career?

Unfortunately, soldiers and police officers are not exempt from this law. If your job requires you to use a firearm or handle ammunition, your employment will likely end.

When can I restore my right to possess a firearm?

Non-felony offense. You may petition the court for restoration of your gun rights after 3 consecutive years in the community without any criminal offenses as long as all the conditions of your original sentence have been completed and you have no prior felony convictions prohibiting you from possessing firearms.

Felony offense (excluding sex offenses and Class A felonies). You may petition the court for restoration of your firearm rights after 5 consecutive years in the community without any criminal offenses, as long as you have no prior felony convictions prohibiting you from possessing firearms.

Class A felony or sex offense (even if you were a juvenile at the time). You must seek an annulment, pardon, or certificate of rehabilitation in order to restore your right to bear arms.

How do I restore my gun rights in Washington?

If you have already lost your gun rights from a prior conviction and meet the above conditions, we can petition the court to restore your firearm rights. This involves:

  • Filing a petition
  • Serving copies to all required parties
  • Providing proof that you are eligible
  • Scheduling and attending hearings
  • Creating & filing the proposed order
  • Filing copies of orders with law enforcement agencies

Protecting and Restoring your Gun Rights

At Beckwith DV Law, we have successfully saved the gun rights of over 1000 clients, including military soldiers, police officers, hunters, and others who use firearms for recreation or self defense. In the majority of cases, we can dismiss your case or negotiate to keep your gun rights.

We have office locations in Seattle and Tacoma. We practice law in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, and Thurston County, Washington. Please call us for a free consultation.