Restoring gun rights to felons in Washington State

Washington State Senate unanimously passes bill to restore the right to own a gun to felons:

"A petition shall be granted if the person meets all requirements of this section for restoration of the right to possess a firearm and the petition."

Information provided to me by a mole in the Washington Senate.



Anonymous DonWorsham said...

On my first read-through, I didn't find anything "bad" in the law. I'm not a lawyer and the wording "could" throw me off.

Is there someting specific in the text to show this is a "bad" law?

2/16/2008 9:59 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Don:

No, I don't think that this is a "bad" law at all. I actually think that it is an unusual example of some consistency by Democrats in that they have moved in 20 some states to restore voting rights to felons, and this is the first case that I know of where they have voted (but not yet passed) a somewhat similar measure for being able to own a gun.

2/16/2008 10:07 AM  
Anonymous deMontjoie said...

I agree that this seems to be a good law, although I suspect that the Democratic lawmakers are supporting it for all the wrong reasons (which makes me want to read it in greater detail for any poisonour loopholes).

Once a criminal is released from prison and off of probation, he/she should be considered as a full-fledged citizen of the USA, with ALL associated rights, responsibilities, and obligations. This includes those rights documented in the 2nd Amendment.

From a more practical standpoint, it is all but impossible to keep firearms out of the hands of free people who want them and are willing to disregard the law. Therefore, if we are unable/unwilling to trust a specific criminal with a firearm, then we should keep them in prison and refuse to set them free until they CAN be trusted with that right/responsibility.

2/16/2008 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who has read Dr. Lott's book knows that virtually all convicted felons vote for Democrats.

It should spur serious questions about why that is the case.

Why don't the Dems restore their right to bear arms too? (Sarcasm intended).

2/17/2008 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Paul Ferris said...

SSB 5465 is a horrible bill. It is unnecessary. And sadly, it came about because some attorney who knew nothing about restoring firearm rights, was unsuccessful in petitioning on behalf of a client. It appears the attorney, and the court, misunderstood a recent appellate case (Masangkay) that held there was no legislative authorization for courts to issue certificates of rehabilitation. Although a "certificates of rehabilitation" was listed in the firearm code as excluding offenders from the prohibited persons category, it was not the exclusive means. Many people mistakenly believed the Masangkay court was stating there was NO procedure for restoring firearm rights. So, several people crowded into a tunnel and saw that they could "fix" the problem.

Despite the proponent's claims that it "clarifies" the process and makes it easier for pro se petitioners, this bill actually increases the preparation and obligations for petitioners. It precludes choice of venue, while at the same time requiring multiple venues for offenders with multiple prohibitive offenses in various counties. In other words, whereas the current procedure (which has served citizens well for many years) allows an offender to file a single petition and bring all disabling convictions before the court, the proposed bill would require the offender to file a petition in each county where there is a prohibitive conviction and serve notice on each prosecutor's office that prosecuted the prohibitive offense. Nevermind that the court has no discretion to deny a qualifying petitioner.

The result: consider an offender with a misdemeanor DV offense in Tacoma Municipal Court and a felony theft in Pierce County Court (same venue), a felony theft in King County, a felony theft in Clark County and a felony theft in Spokane County. For this example, assume that enough time has passed so that he qualifies to regain gun rights. He now must file four petitions at $200 each, serve five prosecuting attorneys' offices, and appear at four venues hundreds of miles apart. In each of the four hearings, the judge will review the exact same information and, because he qualifies, each judge must sign the order. As you can see, after the first hearing, there is really nothing more for the other three judges and four to five prosecutors to do . . . nothing. This bill is an incredible waste of time and resources. And the petitioner, the one who was supposed to benefit from this legislation by avoiding the need for an attorney, will now actually spend far more (including taking an additional three days off from work).

The law did not pass - it only made it through the judiciaty committee and the next step will be a vote on the senate floor; then it's on to the house.

I am an attorney that has successfully filed petitions for hundreds of clients. The law does nothing for individual. However, attorneys will now charge more. Under current statutes, I charge a flat fee per case regardless of the number of prohibitive offenses, as I only file a single petition in a single court. If this bill becomes law, I will charge a flat fee per case.

So what's my complaint . . . if I stand to increase revenues? It is simply because this is just another piece of knee-jerk legislation brought about by ingnorance, without regard for consequences.

6/06/2008 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently contacted the local county sheriff's office and asked them what my fiance needed to do to get his guns rights back and they said that he should get a lawyer. Is this law you posted only for those convicted with mental conditions or for all of those who have been marked felons?

9/17/2008 6:55 PM  
Blogger Trevor Sanchez said...

Before this law was passed, it was impossible for someone who had offended only in his own family to gain restoration of firearms rights. Now because of this law, a felon who has rehabilitated himself according to the courts, will again have the right to recieve his firearms back. This law was a long time coming and it fills a gap that had been missed with the previous law.

3/22/2009 6:46 PM  
Blogger Morris said...

Il make this short and sweet so you folks out there that need things s-p-e-l-l-e-d out for you will understand.
The only reason the DUMBOCRATS want to aprove this insane law id VOTES--simple --easy to understand.
They are scratching for any vote they can possably get--thats why they are soooooo loose with our money when it comes to welfare type programs--the people who are on the stats doll are so indebted to the Dems that they will vote for anything the Dems want.
They say SLAVERY is dead---BULL---the only differance between then and now --it use to be the evil white maasa and now its the evil Dem maasa--think about it.

2/26/2011 6:56 PM  
Blogger Jeff Reynolds said...

Do I have to stick to a particular county to petition to get my rights back in Washington state?

2/26/2015 2:32 AM  
Blogger Offgrid Cabin said...

No, you can file in any county. But in my opinion you are better off filing in the county of conviction if you have met and satisfied all requirements for restoration. You also should have a clear record after conviction if you want to be restored. A dozen traffic tickets won't convince a judge that you have become a law abiding citizen. So be aware of that.

4/07/2015 1:17 PM  

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