Loss of Rights
A person can lose the right to own or possess a firearm in several ways:
- A person convicted of any felony criminal offense loses the right to own or possess a gun.
- Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving domestic violence loses their gun rights.
- Anyone involuntarily committed for mental health treatment or found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity will lose their gun rights.
- Anyone who is subject to a restraining order (Protective Order, Anti-harassment Order, or Domestic Violence Protective Order) will be barred from possessing guns.
Possession is the crime
A person could be charged with the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm even if the weapon does not belong to him/her (for example: a situation where a spouse, roommate, or friend stores their weapon in the place where the person lives).
A person could also be charged with a crime even if they did not know a gun was nearby (for example, a person borrows a car from a friend that contains a gun in the glovebox).
Restoring your rights:
Gun rights are not automatically restored in Washington. A court will automatically restore some civil rights after a person completes a felony criminal sentence (for example, the right to vote or serve on a jury). If a person petitions a court and has their criminal conviction vacated or removed from their record, this does NOT automatically restore the right to possess firearms.
You can be in constant risk of being charged with unlawful possession, some people choose to have their gun rights restored even if they never personally intend to own a weapon in the future.