Expungement Blog

Legislature Looks to Change Rules for Restoring Firearm Rights

Posted by Ryan Robertson on Jan 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

The State Legislature is in session and a proposed bill may make substantial changes to how a person may restore firearm rights following a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

Senate Bill 5561 proposes to make the following changes:

  • Clarifies the waiting periods that must be met prior to petitioning to restore firearm rights: ten years for class B felonies; five years for class C felonies; and three years for non-felony convictions.
  • For all petitions, the person must establish they have satisfied all conditions of sentence for the underlying convictions that resulted in loss of firearm rights.
  • For all petitions, the person must not have had any extreme risk, domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault protection orders entered against them the five years preceding petitioning to restore firearm rights.
  • For any conviction that involved the use, threatened use, or display of a firearm, the person must wait ten years to petition to restore firearm rights. In addition, the person must prove they are sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant restoration of firearm rights.

This bill is currently being debated in the Senate Committee on Law and Justice. If the bill passes the committee, it could be sent to the full Senate, and House, for votes.

How does this proposed bill impact restoring firearm rights? This bill has some dramatic changes, and some subtle changes as well. This bill creates a higher standard for restoring firearm rights for cases that involved the use, threatened use, or display of a firearm. In these cases the court would have discretion to deny a restoration request if the court concludes the person is not sufficiently rehabilitated. The proposed bill does not articulate how a person might prove this. Other changes to the law are subtle. Under current law a person need not prove they completed all conditions of sentence to restore firearm rights if they were convicted of a felony. The proposed bill would change that. Importantly, this bill would directly tie restoration of firearm rights to payment of legal financial obligations. If this bill becomes law, it would be recommended that a person obtain a Certificate of Discharge for a felony conviction prior to petitioning to restore firearm rights. Finally, this bill adds a requirement that a person must not have had certain types of protection orders entered against them in the five years prior to petitioning to restore firearm rights. Current law only restricts restoration of firearm rights to the tie period that any such order is active.

This proposed bill, if it becomes law, would go into effect later this year. If you have questions about your eligibility to restore firearm rights, please contact Robertson Law. We can review your situation and determine what steps need to be taken. We are ready and happy to help.

About the Author

Ryan Robertson

Ryan is a creative and articulate advocate who limits his practice to criminal appeals and post-conviction relief including vacation, expungement, and sealing of records. He has worked exclusively in the criminal defense field since passing the Washington State bar exam in 1998. Ryan has been recognized as a Rising Star lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine.

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Ryan Robertson's practice focuses exclusively on high-quality creative appellate representation in criminal and administrative matters, as well as expungements, vacation of records, and petitions to seal.