With everything happening in the world, we seem to be getting more and more calls from people looking to restore their right to possess and purchase firearms here in Washington State. People lose their firearm rights when they are convicted of any felony or if they are convicted of most types of domestic violence (DV) offenses. Once someone loses their firearm rights, they are gone forever unless they are restored by a court in Washington State. I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you may be in this position, and maybe wondering what a call to us to get this process started might entail. While the cost for restoration will vary and will need to be discussed with an attorney, the process by which we handle a restoration case from front to back is fairly uniform.
When you call our office looking to restore your firearm rights, we’ll first need to determine what caused you to lose those rights, to begin with. While you may know what caused it, and while we may be able to see the case you think caused it, we’re still going to ask that you run your official criminal background check in Washington State, which is done through the Washington State Patrol. This is called a WATCH report. The WATCH report tells us (or at least should tell us) everything on your criminal record in Washington State, and will help us assess whether or not you are actually eligible to restore your firearm rights. We also use this WATCH report as an exhibit in the petition to restore firearm rights that we prepare, so it performs a couple of functions in helping us get your firearm rights back. Once you get this report to us and we determine that you are in fact eligible to restore your firearm rights, we move forward with having you sign a representation agreement and obtaining the fee for representation. At that point, you are officially our client and we begin the path toward restoring your firearm rights with the court.
From the moment you retain our office for representation for firearm restoration, the only work left on your part is signing the petition that we prepare for you. In the vast majority of cases, we do not require your presence in court, as we generally will either go to court for you or work out an agreed order with the prosecutor, which will be signed by a judge to restore your firearm rights. So, this process should be minimally invasive as far as impacting your time or life in a negative way. We do the work while you sit back and wait for good news from us. The timing for getting an order signed by a judge can vary depending on the court and depending on other circumstances, such as the COVID pandemic, which has extended timelines a bit. Generally, getting a court to restore firearm rights signed by a judge should be accomplished within about 60 days of hiring our office.
Once we have the order signed by the judge restoring your right to possess firearms, you are legally able to possess a firearm in Washington State, however, you will not be able to purchase a firearm or obtain a CPL yet. Removing these restrictions requires the Washington State Patrol and FBI to update their records and systems. Our office makes sure that the judge’s signed order gets sent to the correct parties to get these agencies to update their records for you. We will follow your case through until these agencies have fully updated those records on your behalf, and once that is done, you are able to apply for a CPL and pass the required background checks necessary to purchase a firearm. The updating of the WSP and FBI systems can take about 30 to 60 additional days to finalize.
After these agencies have updated their records, our work is done and your goals have been accomplished! You will have a copy of the judge’s signed order for your records and you will have confirmation that you can go in and purchase a firearm if you so choose. We try to make the firearm restoration process an easy one for our clients and one that involves very little work or stress on your end. We take pride in keeping you updated to the best of our ability as to where your case is in the process and we are always willing to answer your questions as your case proceeds through the necessary steps. Please give Russell & Hill, PLLC a call today to discuss moving forward with getting your firearm rights restored!