Under Washington law, an individual convicted of domestic violence may lose their right to ever own a firearm. However, being convicted of domestic abuse is not the only way to lose the right to carry a firearm. If the court believes that a petitioner is in immediate danger, it may issue a temporary injunction requiring the respondent to surrender their weapons. The temporary injunction will generally last 14 days or until the full court hearing is held, whichever is earlier. Once the full hearing is held, the court will either give the respondent the weapons back or issue a long-term order requiring the surrender of their weapons for a specified timeframe.
There are several additional reasons why someone will be required to surrender firearms. For example, if a judge does any of the following:
- Grants a child abuse injunction
- Grants an individual an at-risk injunction and orders the surrender of firearms
- Grants a harassment injunction and orders the surrender of firearms
For the court to order a person to turn over their firearms, the judge must believe that the defendant is a credible threat to the plaintiff.
Washington Weapons Surrender Hearing Attorney
Whether you are seeking or opposing a protection order, the assistance of a skilled Washington family law attorney can help protect you and your rights. At Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson, attorney Shana Thompson has over 18 years of experience serving clients who are facing family law matters. She is prepared to always be on your side and fight vigorously for you.
Call (206) 712-2756 to arrange an initial consultation today with King County family law attorney Shana Thompson. The Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson serves clients in Seattle, Washington.
Child Abuse Cases
Under Washington law, an individual convicted of child abuse may lose their right to own a firearm. They may also be required to surrender their firearm if the court believes that the respondent’s child or any child is in immediate danger of being injured by the respondent. If the court determines that the child is in immediate danger, the respondent will be required to surrender their weapon if an ex parte order (without notice to the respondent) is issued. After 14 days, the defendant can present their case at the full injunction hearing, where the court will determine whether the defendant will get their firearms back or if they will issue a long-term order requiring the surrender of their weapons for a specified time.
In Washington, an individual found to be at risk of doing harm may be required to surrender their firearms; at-risk means an adult with a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs their ability to care for themselves. For example, when someone has a mental impairment in which they cannot process right from wrong or understand the consequences of actions, the court may require the respondent to surrender their weapons because they could injure themselves or others.
Under Washington law, if someone is found to have been harassing another person, they are in possession of a weapon, and if the court believes that the individual being harassed is in imminent danger, then the court will require the respondent to surrender their weapons. For example, if someone has been harassing another person and making threats, the court can potentially require them to hand their firearms over for a minimum of 14 days until a full hearing can be held.
Does The Respondent Need To Disclose A Firearm That Is Not Theirs?
Generally, yes, an individual is required to disclose firearms that are owned by the respondent and those that are in their possession. If the respondent discloses firearms that are not in their name but are in their possession, they likely will be required to surrender them. However, the actual owner of the firearm may petition the court for its return. Once the owner proves that they are the actual firearm owner, the court usually orders the firearm to be returned to them.
To Whom Does The Respondent Have To Surrender Their Firearms?
Generally, when the court orders someone to surrender their firearms, the weapons will be surrendered to law enforcement or a third party. The third party generally needs to be approved by the judge or commissioner who issued the injunction. If a third party is picked and approved, the third party will need to come to the surrender hearing. In some counties, the defendant may be required to surrender their firearms to law enforcement, and then the third party will pick up the firearms from the law enforcement officer.
What Happens At A Firearm Surrender Hearing?
There are generally two hearings held for a firearm surrender. First, if an individual is found to be an immediate danger to themselves or another person, the court may hold an ex parte hearing, without notification to the respondent, where a temporary injunction may be issued. This temporary injunction would require the respondent to surrender their firearms for a maximum of 14 days. Next, the court will hold a full firearm surrender hearing where each party will present evidence supporting their argument. The burden of proof lies on the petitioner to show that the respondent is a danger and should be required to relinquish their firearms for up to one year.
Firearm FAQ │ Washington State Attorney General – Visit the official website of the Washington State Attorney General for a comprehensive summary of firearms laws in the state.
Surrender and Retrieval of Firearms │ The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence – Visit the Johns Hopkins Center for gun violence to review different policies recommended for firearm removal and retrieval in domestic violence cases around the United States.
Seattle Weapons Surrender Hearing Lawyer | King County, WA
If you are facing a domestic violence matter and need the assistance of a skilled family law attorney in Washington, contact Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. Attorney Shana Thompson knows the need for strong representation during domestic violence cases. These types of charges can often bring upon a person distress and social difficulties.
Retain the legal counsel of an experienced lawyer by calling Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson at (206) 712-2756 today. We represent clients throughout King County including the cities of Seattle and Kent and the surrounding cities of Algona, Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bothell, Burien, Carnation and more.