NICS Reverses Stand on Gun Rights for Domestic Violence Convictions in Washington

The FBI-NICS no longer issues denials for most non-felony convictions for domestic violence entered in Washington State. This is based on the 2013 case of Descamps v U.S. Up until recently, anyone that had been convicted of a Fourth Degree Assault determined to be domestic violence in Washington State was in a tough position because the NICS did not recognize a Restoration of Rights for Washington state non-felony domestic violence convictions. State and federal laws on the subject of domestic violence and gun rights are very technical and you should schedule a legal consultation in order to look carefully at any convictions that you think resulted from allegations of domestic violence.

Many Washington State citizens with misdemeanor DV convictions who had their right to possess firearms restored were seeing their rights denied by federal authorities. The intent of Congress has along been that a state court order restoring firearm rights should remove federal prohibitions on posssessing firearms.

“A person shall not be considered to have been convicted of such an offense for purposes of this chapter if the conviction has been expunged or set aside, or is an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored (if the law of the applicable jurisdiction provides for the loss of civil rights under such an offense) unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.”

The FBI-NICS was taking the position that a Washington State court order restoring firearm rights to misdemeanants does not remove firearm prohibitions under federal law because the conviction does not result in the loss of civil rights.

Note that vacating a Washington conviction does not completely expunge or set-aside the conviction as required by federal law. Thus, restoring gun rights in Washington requires a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Restoration of Firearms Rights; merely vacating the conviction or expungement does not meet the requirements of Washington law nor will vacating a conviction satisfy federal criteria for restoration of the right to possess firearms.

If you have been convicted for felonies and Washington state restores your right to possess a weapon then the NICS will recognize Washington’s restoration of your gun rights and you will also be eligible for a Washington Concealed Pistol License. The federal government has now determined that conviction for a Fourth Degree Assault (DV) does not prohibit possession of firearms because the statute for that offense is too vague.

Nevertheless, there is still a need to obtain a restoration of firearms rights in order to satisfy state law requirements and federal interpretations of Washington State law related to firearms rights seem to change unexpectedly.

Note well: When answering the questions for a NICS background check: Question 11i on Form 4473 should be answered with strict accuracy: answer “yes” if, and only if, you have a conviction for an offense that meets the federal Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence definition pursuant to 18 USC 922(g)(9).

Thus, you should state no regarding convictions for domestic violence if you only have a Fourth Degree Assault conviction that was entered in Washington State. All of those offenses listed in 9.41.040(2)(a)(i) fall outside the federal definition of Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence.

Assault in the Fourth Degree, Coercion,
Stalking, Reckless Endangerment,
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree,
Violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.

See RCW 9.41.040

On the other hand, when applying for a Washington State Concealed Pistol License the answer would be yes to the offenses listed above but not necessarily for every conviction identified as DV on your criminal history. Thus, you will need legal advice from an attorney with very technical expertise if you have a domestic violence conviction in Washington.

Benefits of a Washington Gun Trust or NFA Trust.

All Gun Trusts are not equal. A Gun Trust or NFA Trust should be designed for all of your firearms and will provide Asset Protection and multi generational ownership for your firearms. While a Professional Gun Trust with an ArmsGuard Protector is the most advanced Gun Trust, there are other options available and all ofContinue reading “Benefits of a Washington Gun Trust or NFA Trust.”

Restoring Your Right to Keep & Bear Arms

You can petition the court to restore your right to own firearms by representing yourself or obtaining an attorney. We can provide some links that will help you to obtain the forms but there are some pitfalls. For instance, at the present time, the federal government (BATF & NICS) will not recognize rights restored byContinue reading “Restoring Your Right to Keep & Bear Arms”

About Mark Knapp

Our firm advocates for the Second Amendment and strict compliance with Washington’s firearms preemption statute whenever an opportunity presents itself. When attorneys for various municipalities around Washington State issued legal opinions that RCW 9.41.290 “only applied to the regulation of firearms themselves” and excluded regulations that only secondarily affect firearms, many law firms and theContinue reading “About Mark Knapp”

Super Heroes in Seattle

Republished with permission; Firearms Lawyer, Federal Way Mirror

I practically learned to read from the pages of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash! I have been a life long avid reader. After having studied all kinds of history, great literature and other weighty subjects, I am still fascinated by the idea of Batman stopping criminals by sheer wits, athleticism and clever technology.

Imagine standing outside a Federal Way nightclub when a big guy runs out the door, rips off his shirt in the middle of the street and gives every indication that he is about to violently assault a bystander.

Would you try to be a hero and help the innocent bystander?

A new breed of real life superheroes is rapidly becoming mainstream. The Seattle area’s own masked hero, Phoenix Jones (aka Benjamin Fodor), recently came to the aid of patrons outside a Seattle nightclub. He was just kind of hovering nearby, then landed in the middle of a confrontation very similar to the scenario described above.

The superhero, wearing a brightly shining muscle suit, shot pepper spray at the aggressor — then flew off to stop a fight that was allegedly in progress. Seattle police arrested the real life superhero, which resulted in Fodor removing his mask and thus disclosing his secret identity. At the time of writing this report, he had not been charged.

Some of these superheroes wear capes and even bulletproof vests. It seems to just be a matter of time before the avengers will arm themselves with weapons more deadly than pepper spray. After all, the last Batman movie that I saw showed Batman surrendering to modern times with firepower that equaled that of a special forces unit.

The problem is that mixing guns with masks really gets some law enforcement officers upset. Right now, the only law enforcement officers that get to wear the fabulous black Baklava headgear in public are SWAT team members.

This could change if other officers start moonlighting as superheroes. But the volunteer Batman-types will need a governing body — a Justice League of America, perhaps — to ensure that high superhero standards are maintained.

Edward Stinson, a writer from Boca Raton, Fla., who advises real-life superheroes, tells aspiring superheroes: “You’re no longer in the shadows. You’re in a new era. … Build trust. Set standards. Make the real-life superheroes work to earn that title and take some kind of oath.”

The website lists 660 members around the world. The site even lists superheroes in England, and many do other charity work.

Come on, Federal Way service clubs. Every club should be sponsoring at least one superhero.

A whole network of masked vigilantes has appeared in Seattle over the past year. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, some heroes advocate for a non-profit association of heroes to conduct fundraising and outreach — and tactical superhero training.

Masked volunteers first appeared in the 1970s in places like San Diego and now include folks from all walks of life. In Federal Way, there’s a superhero dubbed SkyMan who focuses his efforts on aiding the homeless.

Any young entrepreneur you meet, however, may someday become a real life Batman. It doesn’t take billions of dollars to patrol the night in the name of truth and justice, unless you want to have a fully equipped secret cave under your mansion — or you are the Department of Homeland Security.

Mount Si, Issaquah Alps & Terrorist Hit Lists

Federal Way Mirror; The Firearms Lawyer
Aug 20 2010, 12:40 PM · UPDATED

My wife and I regularly walk the BPA Trail in Federal Way, or even take a few power laps around the inside of The Commons Mall on a rainy winter day. We once tried to slog our way to Camp Muir, right below the glacier on Mount Rainier. We were forced to turn around when we were engulfed by a whiteout at 8,000 feet.

The challenge to gain the freedom of the hills eventually calls, however. Some nearby climbs that I recommend are Mailbox Peak, which is too arduous for all but the highly motivated, and Granite Peak, which offers some great views. But Mount Si is probably our favorite. Four miles of uphill effort climax in a landscape that is rugged with a “Haystack” on the top that invites the adventurous walker to scramble up a precipitous rock face.

The reward is a view of the surrounding countryside that is startling. Your fellow hikers will be mostly congenial, but you may want to discover the old Mount Si Trail because the main trail gets crowded during nice weather. The old Mount Si trail is not marked, nor is it maintained.

A few years ago, I hiked it in about two hours. The old trail is shorter than the other trail, but also steeper. We had the trail to ourselves much of the time. Light mist turned into cold, wet wind at the top. Make sure to have rain gear, extra clothing and appropriate shoes. Carry your ten essentials. In recent times, many hikers have added self-defense equipment to their list of things to pack.

Two-legged varmints and not grizzlies are a realistic concern on King County trails. A warning alongside the trail notifies hikers that an attacker recently assaulted a female trail worker with a stun gun on Tiger Mountain. The woman repulsed the attacker. A mother and daughter hiking on the Pinnacle Lake Trail near Granite Falls were both shot in the head four years ago on July 11, 2006.

Whoever killed the 56-year-old mother and her 27-year-old daughter are still at large. Random violence is unusual in Washington state. Nevertheless, the potential for violence lurks alongside our nation’s trails. A debate about guns has been raging within the forums of outdoor enthusiasts. Federal law now permits carrying in Mount Rainier National Park, provided that you follow Washington state law. But don’t wear your gun into a visitor center or other park buildings inside the park.

Many will choose a light 9-mm like the Walther P99 that I carried on our Mount Si adventure. Make sure your belt, holster and hardware are comfortable with your pack and other gear by taking some shorter hikes near home before you tackle Mount Si.

I am still not sure how to travel comfortably in grizzly country. Stay tuned! I recently bought a .44 magnum hand cannon at the gun show in Puyallup. I’ll have my Original Dirty Harry Holster soon, but it may be more comfortable with a three-piece suit than with a backpack.

As I anticipated, one of our congenial local liberals logged onto the online Mirror and commented as follows:

Mark Knapp represents the clearest (and most present) danger to residents of Federal Way. This man is a walking, talking argument for strong gun control.

I expected the reaction above because someone previously made an online comment referencing my having delusins “of being Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and George Karl Rove Bush”! When I asked how much gun control is needed, I received the following reply:

Handguns should be outlawed, and hunting rifles strictly regulated (i.e., you shouldn’t be able to pick one up at Big 5).

I wonder where we would buy our hunting rifles- from the government? I have observed after following these comments over a period of months that “liberals” never express any compassion for the victims of violent crimes and terrorist threats.

Somehow- no matter how original and independent I try to be- I always end up expressing the same racist opinions that constitute “Fox News talking points”, according to more than one of these critics!

Mark Knapp lives in his little Glenn Beck fantasy world and dreams up new bogeymen with such regularity it is almost comical. His tough guy “bring it on” swagger is the sign of a narcissistic troll that has delusions of being Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and George Karl Rove Bush. He promotes racial and religious tensions with his weekly fantasies. And yes, I would not be suprised if he manufactured his own terrorist hit list to advance his right wing fear and smear campaign. Every village has to have an idiot and I think it is pretty clear who that is in Federal Way.

I do appreciate the avid following, however. At least someone reads my articles in the Federal Way Mirror. I have to love the liberals inspite of my Neanderthal and bigoted outlook! Nevertheless, I am disappointed that I have not appeared on a terrorist hit list yet.

Should Officers Shoot to Wound?

Republished from the Federal Way Mirror/The Firearms Lawyer

Jun 03 2010, 4:35 PM · UPDATED

Over the past several years, I have attended several firearms training programs and have begun teaching firearms law classes in Federal Way.

One thing I have learned is that anyone who thinks he or she will get a medal for killing a perpetrator is sorely deluded. If the public often suspects that officers have killed suspects because of racial prejudice or malice, how will the public view armed citizens? The question often arises as to whether shooting to wound would be preferable than shots that are apt to kill. Is it realistic to require anyone to attempt nonlethal shots?

When Vice President Joe Biden was asked about a “minimum force” bill that would require officers to shoot an assailant in the arm or the leg, the VP called the legislation a “John Wayne Bill” because officers cannot reasonably be expected to shoot like they do in Hollywood. See “No-Kill Bill Surfaces in New York.”

In 2009, a Federal Way police officer shot and wounded an assailant armed with a knife. Because of the fact that the belligerent and naked man was charging the officers, the Federal Way officers’ training required them to aim for center of body mass.

There are no circumstances where officer training would require shooting at the arms or legs. Even if officers could achieve such unrealistic training standards, the unreasonable risk to the officer – and the risk of wounding an innocent bystander – makes “shooting-to-wound” an impractical standard for law enforcement or armed civilians.

Training in use of lethal force almost always involves discussions of cases like the Amadou Diallo case in New York City. Mr. Diallo, struck by at least 19 bullets, was apparently reaching for something in his pocket. Officers thought he was reaching for a weapon. New York lawmakers reacted to the Diallo case and others like it by proposing the legislation requiring that officers deploy the minimum amount of force needed to control a suspect. See Sean Bell.

Graham v. Connor, the benchmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on police use of force, recognizes that gunfights are “tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving.” When an officer’s life or that of a third party is in jeopardy, the decision as to whether or not to shoot is based on the reasonable man standard. The three targets for a reasonably prudent man or woman confronted with armed force are center of body mass, the pelvis and the head. The center of the chest is preferable under most circumstances because such a target minimizes many risks, including the risk of missing the target. The target is often shooting back!

Even two or three shots to the heart or the brain do not ensure that an opponent will stop returning fire. Many departments, including Federal Way, are beginning to focus on shooting under low-light situations and use various simulated shooting scenarios to develop officers’ ability to react while assessing situations.

There are no shoot-to-wound laws proposed in Washington state. Nevertheless, Hollywood myths can influence juries and review boards. Lawyers and journalists are also susceptible to the John Wayne syndrome. The solution lies in educating the public so that all the issues are clearly understood.

Is Another Assault Weapon Ban Coming?

By Mark S. Knapp, Attorney at Law

In 1994, Congress enacted a ban on assault weapons. President Clinton declared that such semi-automatic weapons were “built only for the purpose of killing people.” In the estimation of President Clinton and the United States Congress, Americans did not need such weapons to hunt and practice marksmanship. In 2004, the ban expired because its supporters could not show any impact on crime.

Americans increasingly favor owning light, semi-automatic rifles that fire many rounds (one pull of the trigger at a time) for competition and other purposes like protecting our children from predatory criminals. What makes assault weapons (AW) distinctively different from other semi-automatic weapons?

Automatic weapons that fire more than one shot with one pull of the trigger are already prohibited under federal law. Politicians seeking to gradually eliminate gun ownership know that the ability to create a banned category of weapons provides politicians with power to expand an Assault Weapon Ban to all semi-automatic weapons or even to weapons that hold more than ten rounds.

Thus, politicians recognize that by creating a list of characteristics defining certain weapons as illegal, firearms can be regulated out of existence. Many people think that pistols have no legitimate purpose. Is it true, however, that firearms with “legitimate” hunting and sporting purposes are the only weapons that Americans should be allowed to possess?

The men that drafted the Constitution had an intense debate that was finally settled by leaving the question of standing armies and military preparedness to the executive and legislative branches of the state and federal governments. In the event that inadequate attention to security issues put national security at risk, it was decided that the people themselves should be ready to take up arms to protect the Republic. On the other hand, the question of how to curtail a tyrant from controlling a large standing army was also addressed by providing for an armed populace.

The Second Amendment secures other liberties like the right to express dissent and to be free from governmental intrusions while enjoying privacy in our homes. State and federal legal cases resound with the precept that militarily useful weapons, not sporting goods, are what the U.S. and state constitutions provide for. Laws that required citizens to have a working rifle, suitable for military purposes and a prescribed amount of ammunition were common until modern standing military forces became the rule. Semi-automatic versions of the M-16, determined to be militarily useful by the United States government, are deployed every weekend as rifles of choice in competitions all over the State of Washington and the U.S.

10 USC 311 defines the militia as consisting “of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and… under 45 years of age….” The U.S. Constitution distilled legal wisdom from the classical world of Greece and Rome and Biblical Israel. Politicians were just as prone to disarming citizens in former times as they are today. The ancient despots stripped your weapons and there you stood- a slave. The moderns put you to sleep in lukewarm water while gradually turning up the heat.

See Wayne LaPierre video

Dave Workman’s piece about sixty-five House Democrats that oppose renewal of the AWB:

Gun prohibitionists are crowing that a federal judge on March 19 blocked a rule change allowing concealed carry in national parks.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Bill Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that the National Rifle Association says it will quickly appeal.

An apparently giddy Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, was quoted by the Associated Press noting, “We’re happy that this headlong rush to push more guns into more places has been slowed.”

Darned right he’s happy, but this has nothing to do with public safety or even the lengthy process under which the rule was adopted late last year. Contrary to what the Brady camp and its allies who sued to stop this rule are claiming, this change was not “sudden” or a “last minute bone” thrown to the evil “gun lobby.” This process took a couple of years and went through an extended public comment period last year, and the gun ban lobby knows it. Public comments were being taken as far back as last spring, and everyone had a chance to weigh in, and was even extended an additional 30 days at the request of opponents like Kurt Repanshek.

But, as it has now occurred to 65 Democrat members of the House of Representatives, the gun ban lobby is pretty good at stretching a falsehood (truth has nothing to do with it!). Read this letter in pdf form, courtesy the National Rifle Association.

‘The gun control community has intentionally misled many Americans…’

See Dave Kopel’s article for more about threat of “assault weapons” to police officers.

Every Man and Woman a Rifleman

Embracing Our Revolutionary Heritage

There are still many good shooting ranges and clubs in King County and all over Western Washington. It is difficult, however, to find a range where you can shoot rifles from distances of 600 yards. Nevertheless, the Cascade Rifle and Pistol Club in Ravensdale provides a 600 yard range for members and for competitions.

Paul Bunyan Shooting Club in Puyallup has a 600 yard range which is only available during competitions and certain practice times. Like other outdoor ranges, Paul Bunyan and Cascade also have pistol and shot gun ranges but the next closest range that comes close to 600 yards (outside of Fort Lewis) may be Eatonville. Fort Lewis has a few ranges open to the public. There is some red tape, however, that may discourage all but the most determined.

A convenient alternative for busy urbanites is to go to an indoor pistol range like Champion Arms Indoor Shooting in Kent. Such ranges are also utilized by law enforcement for various activities and competitive pistol matches. IPSIC and IDPA matches have become very popular. Racing through a maze of targets develops accuracy along with the ability to function and perform critical tasks (such as reloading and clearing jams) while adrenaline pumps into your system.

Urbanization has put pressure on some clubs to give way to development. We need to remind our elected officials of President Theodore Roosevelt who believed strongly that marksmanship was the key to military preparedness- so strongly that he created a government department (now the nonprofit Civilian Marksmanship Program) to encourage civilian marksmanship.

I am scheduled to attend an Appleseed Shoot in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho later this month and will be reporting back after the two day event. The goal of the Appleseed Project is to make every American a rifleman that hits targets at 500 or more yards and to increase appreciation for America’s Revolutionary era heritage.

There are still many avid shooters in King County, including “liberal” Seattle. In fact, despite preconceived notions that liberals are anti-gun, gun politics are the true third rail of American politics. The conventional wisdom that a pro-gun stance will alienate swing voters and soccer moms is dubious and needs to be tested. We talk to many South King County moms and grandmothers that are obtaining their Concealed Pistol Licenses for the first time.

Tell your elected representatives that we need more ranges with more space and not to lean on the ones that we have. There are now many successful Democrats and Republicans in the Evergreen State that whole heartedly support armed citizens’ rights.

Rep. Skip Priest, for example, has a solid rating from the NRA and attracts a good cross-section of voters in our area- an area that epitomizes suburban patterns of swing voting. Tell your candidate of choice that gun rights are a bipartisan matter. Then get out to the range and meet your neighbors. Embracing America’s Revolutionary War heritage may be a welcome antidote to all the bad news about the economy.