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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Indefinite Firearm Restriction After DUI

    My question involves criminal records for the state of: Washington

    Hello, I have a legal problem that is probably common but I cannot seem to find an answer to. Hopefully someone can help me.

    I live in Arizona, but I lived in Thurston County, Washington for 6 months in 1998. In February of 1998, I was pulled over for an extreme DUI. I took the deferred prosecution route, which did not really work out because I moved back to Arizona and could not comply with Washington's counselling requirements. So, for a few years I had a warrant in Washington State. This eventually restricted me from driving in Arizona, so in 2003 I traveled to WA, voluntarily did jail time and paid the fine.

    My issue is not directly with the DUI - but apparently because I have a felony in WA, I cannot purchase a firearm, nationwide. The DUI is considered a felony because of my BAC being "extreme". What I have heard is that Washington State never releases the felony conviction status when an FFL holding firearm dealer sends a check on my name through the federal NICS system.

    I attempted to buy a shotgun at Walmart recently, and it was denied because of a felony in Washington State, and that's all they could tell me, except the fact that if the felony conviction had been in AZ, my rights would have been automatically restored after a 5 or 7 year period, no red tape.

    I believe this whole thing is VERY unfair and a violation of my second amendment rights. I have never been convicted of any type of violent crime, domestic violence, drug-related, larceny - nothing ever like that. I just made the stupid mistake of driving my friend home when I had too much to drink 12 years ago and now I cannot buy a gun. (When I was in jail there, they dropped the charges on and releases 350 people from that county jail being held on marijuana charges - go figure. I'll bet THEY can buy a gun to protect themselves).

    This is a 12 year old DUI that is completely taken care of and apparently Washington State legislators believe that this is reason enough to suspend my ability to purchase a firearm FOR LIFE.

    I have called the Thurston County Superior Court - and the clerk said they don't do that and directed me to the Thurston County District Court. The district court also said they don't do that - and directed me to the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. And wouldn't you know it, the sheriffs' office directed me back to the superior court. This is very frustrating.

    I just want to know just what it is that they are forcing me to do to restore my right to buy a firearm. I even spoke to the superior court prosecutor's office and although the attorney was polite, she could not even tell me the name of a form, motion, or anything at all to get this resolved. I think it is absolutely ridiculous in the first place that they do not remove this restriction after a given period of time, like Arizona does.

    I will be very upset if I actually have to travel to Washington to take care of this, or pay money to restore my constitutional right to buy a firearm, because I simply cannot afford those things. No WA free legal aid agency will even talk to me because it is "technically" a criminal issue - even though the case is OVER - a long time ago. This is just not fair.

    What do I need to do? I've long since given up drinking, and I just want to protect the family I have now, or even go quail hunting.

    P.S. - Just curious, if you also know, would this affect me if I was in the possession of a firearm as well? Would it be legal to just have someone else buy it for me? I am under the impression that it would only be illegal if they were buying it for someone who was a wanted criminal or had their 2nd amendment rights specifically stripped....

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response....

    Gilbert, AZ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Wa State : Indefinite Firearm Restriction After DUI

    Under federal law (and, I suspect most every state as well) ANY federal conviction will prevent you from owning or even possessing a firearm.

    if you were to get the matter expunged (provided that is even possible in WA) the expungement would have to specifically restore your firearm rights.

    Your best bet will be to speak with an attorney who is expert in firearms laws in WA state.

    If you Google the relevant terms of "expunge," Washington," and "state," you will find several links to state laws that might allow you to clear your record ... though it seems that as much as 10 years might have to pass between the conviction and the sealing request.
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Wa State : Indefinite Firearm Restriction After DUI

    No, it is not legal to have someone else buy it for you.

    Did you really think it would be? Really?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Key West, FL

    Default Re: Indefinite Firearm Restriction After DUI

    Straw purchases are a FEDERAL CRIME, for the purchaser and you. It is also the one thing that will get a gunstore federal license yanked and what the feds look for when they inspect a gun store.

    You also have a serious misunderstanding of rights being restored.

    Many states give you back your civil rights at some point after conviction, like when you are off supervision. Others never do, like Florida.

    These civil rights include voting, serving on a jury and things like that.

    They do NOT give you back the right to own or possess a firearm.

    The federal government will always consider you a convicted felon, and regardless of what the state does or what you think it does, it is the feds who do the screening and will prosecute you and send you to prison if you ever get caught with a gun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Indefinite Firearm Restriction After DUI

    So my you think my 12 year old DUI is a "federal conviction"? You say - "provided that is even possible in WA" - as if there are states that PERMANENTLY restrict the ownership of firearms because of DUI convictions?

    Am I alone here in thinking that is utterly ridiculous?

    Yes, cyjeff, I really did think it would be possible to be legal - because I am not a convicted criminal as defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968 - this was not a violent offense and I do not fit ANY of the criteria on the federally prohibited list. I thought maybe item (d) might apply, but after looking into it, alcohol is not defined as a controlled substance.

    Item (a) is the only one that could possibly apply, but the maximum sentence in the Washington court for my DUI was specifically not to exceed 1 year - and the Gun Control Act defines a "felony" as a crime punishable by exceeding 1 year....

    (d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person:

    (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

    (2) is a fugitive from justice;

    (3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));

    (4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;

    (5) who, being an alien: (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States;or

    (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26));

    (6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

    (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;

    (8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that:

    (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate;and

    (B) (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child;or

    (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury;or

    (9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
    So how is it that Washington can just decide to call my DUI a felony, and return a denial when a NICS check is done? Washington decides to make this a "felony" because of preset, "excessive" BAC and I am denied purchasing or owning a gun?

    So yes, I thought it might be possible to legally own a gun, and not be able to buy one - even if only because an Arizona officer checking my name and background would not find any warrants or violent history with me, and would not do a NICS check.

    And, where else am I supposed to ask? Everyone wants money. Everyone tells me to see a lawyer. That's the point - I do not think I should have to pay a dime to exercise my 2nd amendment rights! Moreover, I cannot afford to.

    I have never been a convicted of a "felony" as defined by federal firearm law.

    When they said "shall not be infringed" - I think this is what they were talking about.


    In the Gun Control Act "Purpose", it says, in part:

    " not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity, and that this title is not intended to discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes..."

    I believe that I fall under this category, and this is definitely an "undue" and "unnecessary" "burden".... I am a law abiding citizen! How can Washington State supercede federal law?

    Thanks for listening, I look forward to and appreciate any help here.


    Oh just great - I did the search you suggested and found this site:

    and in this article, the author lists one of the criteria for expungement under Washington State law:

    Certain convictions, and classifications of convictions, are not eligible for Expungement in Washington State. Generally, class A felonies (the most serious), sex crimes, and violent crimes cannot be expunged in Washington State. Among misdemeanors, Washington State does not permit a DUI conviction to be expunged.
    I hope this is not true. Washington State said my conviction was a felony because it was extreme - and if they do not expunge DUI's - well that would mean I can never again in my life own a firearm.

    Should I not be outraged?

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