Articles Tagged with Domestic violence

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If you have a conviction in Washington for a domestic-violence misdemeanor, you may be able to have a court restore your rights under Washington law to possess firearms.  But federal authorities may not recognize the Washington court order, so you could be in a position where your possession of firearms does not violate Washington state law, but does violate federal law.

Before giving up hope of ever owning a gun again, take a close look at whether your conviction truly fits the federal definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”  The federal definition is much narrower than the definition appearing in Washington law.   To put things a little differently, an offense classified as a DV offense under Washington law may not be classified as a DV offense under federal law.  In that situation, if your Washington gun rights are restored there is no prohibition on your right to possess firearms.

For example, in order to qualify under federal law as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” an element of the crime must be the use of force or the threat to use force (such as an assault).  Thus, if your conviction is for violating a protection order, it does not prohibit your possession of firearms under federal law, because one can commit the offense without using force (by telephoning the protected person, for example).

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