A New York Times investigation shows that many felons in Washington, and in several other states, face little to no resistance to regaining gun rights.
“The most serious [Washington state] felons are barred,” Michael Luo writes. “But otherwise judges have no discretion to reject the petitions, as long as the applicant fulfills certain criteria.”
Judges in Washington therefore have no discretion to bar felons from gun rights restoration based on character, mental health or other factors. This is because of a restoration expansion that was part of the 1995 statewide initiative, the Hard Times for Armed Crimes Act.
The Times determined that since 1995, more than 3,300 felons and those convicted of domestic-violence misdemeanors have regained gun rights. Out of the 3,300, over 400 had committed new crimes — more than 200 of those were felonies “including murder, assault in the first degree, child rape and drive-by shooting.”
To read the full investigation, as well as three profiles of Washington state felons who had their gun rights reinstated and later committed other crimes, visit NYTimes.com.