State Laws

Washington Gun Laws


Many states in the United States are considered to be "shall issue" states, but Washington is one of the first to have this decree. Through this decree a city police officer or a county sheriff may grant a concealed weapons permit to anyone who applies.

Those who apply must meet the necessary requirements and be at least twenty-one-years-old. These requirements include not having any outstanding warrants, not having any felony offense convictions, and not having any misdemeanor offense convictions for domestic violence. The open carrying of any kind of firearm is illegal by Washington law. Open carry laws have been under debate for over forty years, and many have tried to amend the law.

Open Carry Laws
The law states that individuals may openly carry firearms in the state borders of Washington only when in a vicinity where it is lawful to have a loaded handgun in possession. The only lawful way individuals are allowed to have open carry firearms is if they are under concealed weapons permits while in a vehicle.

Firearms are always prohibited from school property, however some exceptions apply. For instance, if an individual has a license issued under RCW 9.41.070 or does not need to meet the licensing requirements of RCW 9.41.060, he or she is eligible to carry a firearm while dropping off or picking up a student. An individual who is over the age of eighteen also has the right to have a firearm in possession if the weapon is safely secured in an occupied motor vehicle and the weapon is out of view and locked in an unoccupied vehicle while the individual conducts organized businesses on the school property.

Prohibiting Firearms from Washington Areas
Washington law states that the city governments, county governments, local governments, and other municipality are not allowed to stipulate more restrictive laws than that of state laws on firearms. Local governments do however have jurisdictions in certain areas. Some of these areas include vicinities where domestic animals, humans, and personal property will be inhibited by possessing a firearm.

Nevertheless the right to use a firearm for reasons of self-defense or in the defense of others is lawful, but should be used with extreme caution. Firearms are restricted in all convention centers and sports stadiums that are operated through county or city governments. Under these circumstances concealed weapons are allowed with those who possess the correct permits and demonstrate that they can handle firearms adequately. Firearms may also be possessed in the establishments that sell firearms.

Possession Restrictions and Allowances
Washington considers possession a firearm in Washington while not a state resident to be a Class C Felony offense as stated in Washington's Alien Firearm Licensing law. Background check used to be standard for non-residents during license issuing, but the process soon became too difficult and issuing firearms to non-residents was no longer permitted. This law was revoked a short time later.

Pointing a firearm at another is considered a gross misdemeanor. Besides accepting the permits of the state, Washington also accepts the permits of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, and Oklahoma.

See also:
Washington Felony
Washington Divorce
Washington Bankruptcy Laws
Washington Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Washington Expungement External link (opens in new window)