Washington has special laws designed to help qualified applicants clear old arrest and conviction records for a fresh start. I have written and lectured extensively on the Washington law governing expungement, vacation and sealing of criminal records. A copy of my article summarizing some of the relevant rules and procedures is available by clicking below:
Vacating, Sealing and Expungement
The right to own or possess firearms in the State of Washington is taken away following conviction of most felony and certain misdemeanor crimes. Once firearm rights are taken away by a court, they must be restored by a court. Merely completing all terms and conditions of Judgment and Sentence and probation does not automatically restore firearms rights. In order to restore firearms rights, the applicant must file the right petition with the right court.
RCW 9.41.040 and 9.41.047 set forth the rules and procedures governing restoration of firearms rights in Washington. Eligibility depends on several factors including number and nature of all offenses, mental health history, and time spent trouble free in the community.
If an otherwise disqualifying criminal conviction is vacated, it often clears the way to restore firearms rights. This is why a motion to vacate a criminal conviction is often coupled with a motion to restore firearms rights when all legal requirements are met.
In some cases, a conviction may not qualify for vacation but if all terms and conditions of Judgment and Sentence have been met, and the applicant has spent sufficient time trouble free in the community, firearms rights may still be restored.
Restraining and No-Contact Orders often require the surrender of all firearms. When all terms and conditions of the court orders are met, and sufficient time has elapsed troube free in the community, the applicant may ask the court to lift the restrictions.