State Supreme Court clarifies when felons can regain gun rights

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — People in Washington state who want to have their gun rights restored after a felony conviction must be crime-free for five years, but it doesn't have to be the five years immediately before they petition.

That's according to a 6-3 ruling Thursday from the Washington Supreme Court. It came in the case of Edgar Dennis III, who was disqualified from possessing guns after robbery and assault convictions in the 1990s.

Dennis went more than 15 years before he was convicted of another crime, a misdemeanor for negligent driving.

Two years after that, in 2016, he petitioned to have his firearm rights restored. Lower courts rejected his efforts, citing the misdemeanor conviction within the past five years.

The high court overturned those decisions. The majority said that because he had been conviction-free for more than five years after completing his last felony sentence, he was entitled to have his gun rights restored.