JERRY L. BARR III, Respondent,
SNOHOMISH COUNTY SHERIFF, Petitioner.
case asks us to decide whether the Snohomish County sheriff
(the Sheriff) is required to issue a concealed pistol license
(CPL) to an individual whose sealed juvenile record includes
adjudications for class A felonies. In this case, the answer
is no. The Sheriff is not required to issue a CPL to a person
who "is prohibited from possessing a firearm under
federal law." RCW 9.41.070(1)(a). Due to respondent
Jerry Barr's class A felony adjudications, federal law
provides that it is unlawful for him to "possess in or
affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition." 18
U.S.C. § 922(g). We therefore reverse the Court of
Appeals and hold that Barr is not entitled to a writ of
mandamus requiring the Sheriff to issue him a CPL.
Background and Procedural History
1992, when he was a juvenile, Barr was adjudicated guilty of
three offenses, two of which are classified as class A
felonies. His criminal history also includes three
convictions as an adult between 1996 and 2000.
2016, Barr received an order restoring his firearm rights as
to the three adult convictions and one of the offenses he
committed as a juvenile. The order was issued pursuant to RCW
9.41.040(4), which allows a court to restore firearm rights
after an individual has spent a number of consecutive years
in the community without being convicted of any other crimes.
RCW 9.41.040(4) does not apply to class A felonies and sex
remaining two juvenile adjudications are class A felonies. In
September 2016, Barr secured orders sealing the records of
these two adjudications and declaring that "[s]o long as
this case remains sealed, the offenses ... do not prohibit
[Barr] from possessing firearms under RCW 9.41.040."
Clerk's Papers (CP) at 46-47.
these orders in hand, Barr applied for a CPL from the Sheriff
in November 2016. The Sheriff denied the application based on
the two sealed class A felonies, which were revealed in a
search of the National Instant Criminal Background Check
System and the Washington State Patrol criminal history
database. The Sheriff determined that the two class A
felonies, whether sealed or not, prohibited Barr from
possessing a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1),
which made him ineligible for a CPL. Id. at 61.
petitioned the Thurston County Superior Court for a writ of
mandamus requiring the Sheriff to issue the CPL. The writ was
denied, and Barr sought review in the Court of Appeals. In a
published decision, Division Two reversed and remanded with
an order to issue the writ. Barr v. Snohomish County
Sheriff, 4 Wn.App. 2d 85, 89, 419 P.3d 867 (2018). The
Sheriff petitioned for review in this court, which we
granted. Barr v. Snohomish County Sheriff 191 Wn.2d
1019 (2018). We also asked the parties to address in their
supplemental briefs "whether a juvenile conviction which
has been sealed is still a 'conviction' for purposes
of the state and federal firearm statutes." Letter from
Susan L. Carlson, Supreme Ct. Clerk, Wash., to the parties
(Nov. 5, 2018), Barr v. Snohomish County Sheriff No.
the Sheriff have a mandatory duty to issue Barr a CPL?
Barr entitled to attorney fees and costs on review?
9.41.0975(2)(a) allows an applicant to petition for a writ of
mandamus directing an issuing agency to issue a CPL
"wrongfully refused." A CPL is wrongfully refused
if the issuing agency has a mandatory duty to issue one and
refuses to do so. See RCW 7.16.160 (writ issued to
"compel the performance of an act which the law
especially enjoins as a duty resulting from an office").
We therefore must decide whether RCW 9.41.070 imposes a
mandatory duty on the Sheriff to issue Barr a CPL. "The
determination of whether a statute specifies a duty that the
person must perform is a question of law." River
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