August 16, 2023
Gun Rights Restoration: Washington House Bill 1562
If you like to stay up-to-date with gun laws, you may have heard whispers about the Washington House Bill 1562. This is a bill that took effect July 23, 2023. Governor Inslee was responsible for signing the House Bill 1562 into law in May of this year. This bill changes a lot of the details when it comes to restoring gun rights in Washington.
Both 2023 and 2024 are going to be introducing some big changes when it comes to Washington firearms laws. That is why it is important to stay up-to-date with what is happening, as this could very well impact your firearm rights.
Do you own a firearm or want to restore your firearm rights in Washington? If so, keep reading to find out what this new bill entails.
What Crimes Take Away Your Gun Rights Now?
House Bill 1562 now enlarges the list of criminal convictions that will result in loss of your firearm rights. Here is the list of crimes that will cost you your gun rights:
- All felonies
- All domestic violence misdemeanors
- Cyber harassment (most instances)
- Aiming or Discharging a Firearm
- Unlawful Carry or Handling of a Firearm
- Animal Cruelty (some instances)
- DUI (if committed within seven years of a “prior offense” conviction)
- Violation of the terms of an order to surrender/prohibit weapons, extreme risk protection order, or any other protection order restraining a person from a residence.
How Can I Restore My Firearm Rights?
Some of the rules about restoring your gun rights have not changed but several have changed. You will still not be able to restore your right to possess a firearm if you have been convicted of a class A felony or a sex offense.
For any criminal charge that takes away your firearm rights, you must wait for five years following your release from confinement for the charge regardless of whether the crime was a felony or misdemeanor. You must also file the petition for restoration in the county where the conviction took place. You must also not be pending any criminal charges nor have committed any firearm-prohibiting convictions within the five years preceding the petition for restoration. Likewise, you must prove that you completed all conditions of your sentence other than non-restitution fines.
This means significant changes from the old law. Not only are the number of crimes that will take away your firearm rights growing, so are the list of conditions that must be met before you can restore your rights.
There are a few additional rules that must be met, so it pays to consult with a qualified attorney if you are seeking to restore your rights.
Updated Procedures for Restoring Gun Rights
Whenever laws change in Washington, it is important that you understand what these changes entail. There are quite a lot of changes that could have an impact on your ability to file a successful petition.
One change to the Washington firearm restoration law is that you cannot have a conviction in other states that prohibit firearm possession. Law enforcement is responsible for making sure all petitioners are eligible for gun rights restoration.
The prosecutor also has to let any victims of the petitioner know about the petition for restoring gun rights. The victims have the option of creating a written statement, including additional information about the petitioner.
The prosecutor is also required to verify in writing that all of the necessary research has been done. This ensures that the petitioner meets all of the standards for having their gun rights safely restored.
Do You Need a Court Hearing to Restore Your Gun Rights?
The process of restoring your gun rights can be quite lengthy, but it is not overly complicated. One question you may be asking is whether you will have to attend court hearings to complete this process.
The good news is that this is not always required if everything goes smoothly. The court may need to set a hearing only if it determines that more information is necessary before coming to a decision.
This can happen if there are not adequate records regarding your situation and your eligibility. Or there may be a lot of records that provide conflicting information.
Can You Still Get a CPL?
If you are in the process of having your gun rights restored, this is not all you can do under Washington law. You are also eligible to apply for a CPL, which stands for a concealed pistol license.
This license allows you to always keep your firearm on you, except when you are in places like bars, schools, and hospitals. Washington is required to issue a CPL to anyone who meets all the necessary requirements.
Because of this, past convictions will not impact your ability as long as you are eligible. But you do need to keep in mind that domestic violence cases will impact your chances of success.
If your firearm rights have been restored after a domestic violence conviction, you may not be eligible for a CPL. If you believe that you are eligible, but your license is denied, you may need to create an appeal and take it to Superior Court.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you want to have your gun rights restored, the Washington House Bill 1562 may make you feel nervous. In a lot of areas, this has made firearm rights restoration a little more difficult, depending on your circumstances.
Even though a lot of rules have changed, the basics are still the same regarding how the process works. If you are worried about your eligibility, you will want to hire a criminal defense attorney to support your petition.
Your attorney can help you to understand the details of how this bill impacts you and if you have a good chance of getting your rights back. They will also gather information to support your petition and show you in the best light to the court.
This is your best option, whether you have an extensive criminal record or one incident that resulted in the removal of your gun rights.
Losing your gun rights is a huge blow, especially when you want the ability to protect yourself and your family. The good news is that gun rights restoration is possible as long as you meet the requirements for the new Washington House Bill 1562.
The process will still be long and painstaking, but a lot of people stand a good chance of having their rights restored. To set yourself up for success, you need to find a dependable criminal defense attorney to back your petition.
Are you looking for a reputable criminal defense attorney in the Vancouver area? Contact us today at VanWa Legal PLLC to schedule your free consultation.
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