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Man to sue judge who denied him firearms

Ex-felon petitions U.S. court to declare state law invalid

By , Columbian environment and transportation reporter
Published: November 15, 2016, 9:15pm

Vancouver’s Justin Forsman, who ran and lost in a race for state Senate this year and the city council last year, intends to sue a Clark County judge in federal court to restore his firearm rights.

Forsman, in documents filed Monday and Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, says he filed a petition in Clark County Superior Court in February requesting the return of his rights to possess a firearm.

Court records show Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke denied Forsman’s petition. The judge ruled that Forsman, who had previously been convicted of a felony, had not met the requirement that he go at least five years without any other convictions or criminal charges after his last conviction and sentence.

According to court records, Forsman’s firearm possession rights were rescinded based on five property crimes he committed as a juvenile from 2001 to 2004, and first-degree trafficking of stolen property in 2008. In 2009, he was convicted of five counts of first-degree criminal mischief and two counts of first-degree theft, both in Oregon.

In 2012, Forsman was convicted of third-degree driving with a suspended license. Based on the timing of his conviction in that case, the state argued, he’d be ineligible for restored firearms rights until late December 2018.

In addition, Forsman was arrested in December last year after he allegedly threatened a woman and refused to cooperate with police, but no charges were filed.

Forsman made an unsuccessful run for the 49th Legislative District state Senate seat, finishing fourth in the August primary. He also ran unsuccessfully for Vancouver City Council in 2015.

Forsman, 29, is asking the federal court to reverse Stahnke’s decision, to rule the state law limiting firearms access for felons unconstitutional and to grant him compensation for any legal fees.

In his complaint, Forsman says Stahnke stopped him from making his case in court in February and told Forsman that in order to grant the petition, Stahnke would have had to declare the state law regarding weapons possession unconstitutional, “and that was a decision he was not willing to make.”

Forsman’s complaint cites the state constitution, the Bill of Rights and multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions to make his case. It does not appear that Forsman has an attorney in the suit.

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