Washington Gun Law

The laws governing the legal use, storage and carrying of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the State of Washington as of 3/01/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to the Washington State legislation at apps.leg.wa.gov. Another great resource is the Washington Department  of Licensing dol.wa.gov.

Issuance
1) The chief of police of a municipality or the sheriff of a county shall within thirty days after the filing of an application of any person, issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed on his or her person within this state for five years from date of issue, for the purposes of protection or while engaged in business, sport, or while traveling. However, if the applicant does not have a valid permanent Washington driver's license or Washington state identification card or has not been a resident of the state for the previous consecutive ninety days, the issuing authority shall have up to sixty days after the filing of the application to issue a license. The issuing authority shall not refuse to accept completed applications for concealed pistol licenses during regular business hours.

The applicant's constitutional right to bear arms shall not be denied, unless:
     (a) He or she is ineligible to possess a firearm under the provisions of RCW 9.41.040 or 9.41.045, or is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law;
     (b) The applicant's concealed pistol license is in a revoked status;
     (c) He or she is under twenty-one years of age;
     (d) He or she is subject to a court order or injunction regarding firearms pursuant to RCW 9A.46.080, 10.14.080, 10.99.040, 10.99.045, 26.09.050, 26.09.060, 26.10.040, 26.10.115, 26.26.130, 26.50.060, 26.50.070, or 26.26.590;
     (e) He or she is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony offense;
     (f) He or she has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest from any court of competent jurisdiction for a felony or misdemeanor; or
     (g) He or she has been ordered to forfeit a firearm under RCW 9.41.098(1)(e) within one year before filing an application to carry a pistol concealed on his or her person.

     No person convicted of a felony may have his or her right to possess firearms restored or his or her privilege to carry a concealed pistol restored, unless the person has been granted relief from disabilities by the attorney general under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 925(c), or RCW 9.41.040 (3) or (4) applies.
(2)(a) The issuing authority shall conduct a check through the national instant criminal background check system, the Washington state patrol electronic database, the department of social and health services electronic database, and with other agencies or resources as appropriate, to determine whether the applicant is ineligible under RCW 9.41.040 or 9.41.045 to possess a firearm, or is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law, and therefore ineligible for a concealed pistol license.
     (b) The issuing authority shall deny a permit to anyone who is found to be prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law.
     (c) This subsection applies whether the applicant is applying for a new concealed pistol license or to renew a concealed pistol license.

(3) Any person whose firearms rights have been restricted and who has been granted relief from disabilities by the attorney general under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 925(c) or who is exempt under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 921(a)(20)(A) shall have his or her right to acquire, receive, transfer, ship, transport, carry, and possess firearms in accordance with Washington state law restored except as otherwise prohibited by this chapter.
(4) The license application shall bear the full name, residential address, telephone number at the option of the applicant, date and place of birth, race, gender, description, a complete set of fingerprints, and signature of the licensee, and the licensee's driver's license number or state identification card number if used for identification in applying for the license. A signed application for a concealed pistol license shall constitute a waiver of confidentiality and written request that the department of social and health services, mental health institutions, and other health care facilities release information relevant to the applicant's eligibility for a concealed pistol license to an inquiring court or law enforcement agency.
      The application for an original license shall include two complete sets of fingerprints to be forwarded to the Washington state patrol.
      The license and application shall contain a warning substantially as follows:

CAUTION: Although state and local laws do not differ, federal law and state law on the possession of firearms differ. If you are prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm, you may be prosecuted in federal court. A state license is not a defense to a federal prosecution.
      The license shall contain a description of the major differences between state and federal law and an explanation of the fact that local laws and ordinances on firearms are preempted by state law and must be consistent with state law.
      The application shall contain questions about the applicant's eligibility under RCW 9.41.040 and federal law to possess a pistol, the applicant's place of birth, and whether the applicant is a United States citizen. If the applicant is not a United States citizen, the applicant must provide the applicant's country of citizenship, United States issued alien number or admission number, and the basis on which the applicant claims to be exempt from federal prohibitions on firearm possession by aliens. The applicant shall not be required to produce a birth certificate or other evidence of citizenship. A person who is not a citizen of the United States shall, if applicable, meet the additional requirements of RCW 9.41.173 and produce proof of compliance with RCW 9.41.173 upon application. The license may be in triplicate or in a form to be prescribed by the department of licensing.
      The original thereof shall be delivered to the licensee, the duplicate shall within seven days be sent to the director of licensing and the triplicate shall be preserved for six years, by the authority issuing the license.
      The department of licensing shall make available to law enforcement and corrections agencies, in an on-line format, all information received under this subsection.

Fees
(5) The nonrefundable fee, paid upon application, for the original five-year license shall be thirty-six dollars plus additional charges imposed by the federal bureau of investigation that are passed on to the applicant. No other state or local branch or unit of government may impose any additional charges on the applicant for the issuance of the license.

      The fee shall be distributed as follows:
     (a) Fifteen dollars shall be paid to the state general fund;
     (b) Four dollars shall be paid to the agency taking the fingerprints of the person licensed;
     (c) Fourteen dollars shall be paid to the issuing authority for the purpose of enforcing this chapter; and
     (d) Three dollars to the firearms range account in the general fund.

(6) The nonrefundable fee for the renewal of such license shall be thirty-two dollars. No other branch or unit of government may impose any additional charges on the applicant for the renewal of the license.
      The renewal fee shall be distributed as follows:
     (a) Fifteen dollars shall be paid to the state general fund;
     (b) Fourteen dollars shall be paid to the issuing authority for the purpose of enforcing this chapter; and
     (c) Three dollars to the firearms range account in the general fund.

(7) The nonrefundable fee for replacement of lost or damaged licenses is ten dollars to be paid to the issuing authority.
(8) Payment shall be by cash, check, or money order at the option of the applicant. Additional methods of payment may be allowed at the option of the issuing authority.

(9) A licensee may renew a license if the licensee applies for renewal within ninety days before or after the expiration date of the license. A license so renewed shall take effect on the expiration date of the prior license. A licensee renewing after the expiration date of the license must pay a late renewal penalty of ten dollars in addition to the renewal fee specified in subsection (6) of this section. The fee shall be distributed as follows:
     (a) Three dollars shall be deposited in the state wildlife account and used exclusively first for the printing and distribution of a pamphlet on the legal limits of the use of firearms, firearms safety, and the preemptive nature of state law, and subsequently the support of volunteer instructors in the basic firearms safety training program conducted by the department of fish and wildlife. The pamphlet shall be given to each applicant for a license; and

     (b) Seven dollars shall be paid to the issuing authority for the purpose of enforcing this chapter.(10) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsections (1) through (9) of this section, the chief of police of the municipality or the sheriff of the county of the applicant's residence may issue a temporary emergency license for good cause pending review under subsection (1) of this section. However, a temporary emergency license issued under this subsection shall not exempt the holder of the license from any records check requirement. Temporary emergency licenses shall be easily distinguishable from regular licenses.

(11) A political subdivision of the state shall not modify the requirements of this section or chapter, nor may a political subdivision ask the applicant to voluntarily submit any information not required by this section.

(12) A person who knowingly makes a false statement regarding citizenship or identity on an application for a concealed pistol license is guilty of false swearing under RCW 9A.72.040. In addition to any other penalty provided for by law, the concealed pistol license of a person who knowingly makes a false statement shall be revoked, and the person shall be permanently ineligible for a concealed pistol license.

(13) A person may apply for a concealed pistol license:
     (a) To the municipality or to the county in which the applicant resides if the applicant resides in a municipality;
     (b) To the county in which the applicant resides if the applicant resides in an unincorporated area; or
     (c) Anywhere in the state if the applicant is a nonresident.

(14) Any person who, as a member of the armed forces, including the national guard and armed forces reserves, is unable to renew his or her license under subsections (6) and (9) of this section because of the person's assignment, reassignment, or deployment for out-of-state military service may renew his or her license within ninety days after the person returns to this state from out-of-state military service, if the person provides the following to the issuing authority no later than ninety days after the person's date of discharge or assignment, reassignment, or deployment back to this state: (a) A copy of the person's original order designating the specific period of assignment, reassignment, or deployment for out-of-state military service, and (b) if appropriate, a copy of the person's discharge or amended or subsequent assignment, reassignment, or deployment order back to this state. A license so renewed under this subsection (14) shall take effect on the expiration date of the prior license. A licensee renewing after the expiration date of the license under this subsection (14) shall pay only the renewal fee specified in subsection (6) of this section and shall not be required to pay a late renewal penalty in addition to the renewal fee.

RCW 9.41.075Concealed pistol license — Revocation.
(1) The license shall be revoked by the license-issuing authority immediately upon:
     (a) Discovery by the issuing authority that the person was ineligible under RCW 9.41.070 for a concealed pistol license when applying for the license or license renewal;
     (b) Conviction of the licensee, or the licensee being found not guilty by reason of insanity, of an offense, or commitment of the licensee for mental health treatment, that makes a person ineligible under RCW 9.41.040 to possess a firearm;
     (c) Conviction of the licensee for a third violation of this chapter within five calendar years; or
     (d) An order that the licensee forfeit a firearm under RCW 9.41.098(1)(d).
(2)(a) Unless the person may lawfully possess a pistol without a concealed pistol license, an ineligible person to whom a concealed pistol license was issued shall, within fourteen days of license revocation, lawfully transfer ownership of any pistol acquired while the person was in possession of the license.
     (b) Upon discovering a person issued a concealed pistol license was ineligible for the license, the issuing authority shall contact the department of licensing to determine whether the person purchased a pistol while in possession of the license. If the person did purchase a pistol while in possession of the concealed pistol license, if the person may not lawfully possess a pistol without a concealed pistol license, the issuing authority shall require the person to present satisfactory evidence of having lawfully transferred ownership of the pistol. The issuing authority shall require the person to produce the evidence within fifteen days of the revocation of the license.
(3) When a licensee is ordered to forfeit a firearm under RCW 9.41.098(1)(d), the issuing authority shall:
     (a) On the first forfeiture, revoke the license for one year;
     (b) On the second forfeiture, revoke the license for two years; or
     (c) On the third or subsequent forfeiture, revoke the license for five years.
     Any person whose license is revoked as a result of a forfeiture of a firearm under RCW 9.41.098(1)(d) may not reapply for a new license until the end of the revocation period.
(4) The issuing authority shall notify, in writing, the department of licensing of the revocation of a license. The department of licensing shall record the revocation.

Off Limits
(1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a weapon:
     (a) The restricted access areas of a jail, or of a law enforcement facility, or any place used for the confinement of a person (i) arrested for, charged with, or convicted of an offense, (ii) held for extradition or as a material witness, or (iii) otherwise confined pursuant to an order of a court, except an order under chapter 13.32A or 13.34 RCW. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress or ingress open to the general public;
     (b) Those areas in any building which are used in connection with court proceedings, including courtrooms, jury rooms, judge's chambers, offices and areas used to conduct court business, waiting areas, and corridors adjacent to areas used in connection with court proceedings. The restricted areas do not include common areas of ingress and egress to the building that is used in connection with court proceedings, when it is possible to protect court areas without restricting ingress and egress to the building. The restricted areas shall be the minimum necessary to fulfill the objective of this subsection (1)(b).
     For purposes of this subsection (1)(b), "weapon" means any firearm, explosive as defined in RCW 70.74.010, or any weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or any knife, dagger, dirk, or other similar weapon that is capable of causing death or bodily injury and is commonly used with the intent to cause death or bodily injury.
     In addition, the local legislative authority shall provide either a stationary locked box sufficient in size for pistols and key to a weapon owner for weapon storage, or shall designate an official to receive weapons for safekeeping, during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building. The locked box or designated official shall be located within the same building used in connection with court proceedings. The local legislative authority shall be liable for any negligence causing damage to or loss of a weapon either placed in a locked box or left with an official during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building.
     The local judicial authority shall designate and clearly mark those areas where weapons are prohibited, and shall post notices at each entrance to the building of the prohibition against weapons in the restricted areas;
     (c) The restricted access areas of a public mental health facility certified by the department of social and health services for inpatient hospital care and state institutions for the care of the mentally ill, excluding those facilities solely for evaluation and treatment. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public;
     (d) That portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under twenty-one years of age; or
     (e) The restricted access areas of a commercial service airport designated in the airport security plan approved by the federal transportation security administration, including passenger screening checkpoints at or beyond the point at which a passenger initiates the screening process. These areas do not include airport drives, general parking areas and walkways, and shops and areas of the terminal that are outside the screening checkpoints and that are normally open to unscreened passengers or visitors to the airport. Any restricted access area shall be clearly indicated by prominent signs indicating that firearms and other weapons are prohibited in the area.

(2) Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:
     (a) Restricting the discharge of firearms in any portion of their respective jurisdictions where there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized. Such laws and ordinances shall not abridge the right of the individual guaranteed by Article I, section 24 of the state Constitution to bear arms in defense of self or others; and
     (b) Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to:
     (i) Any pistol in the possession of a person licensed under RCW 9.41.070 or exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060; or
     (ii) Any showing, demonstration, or lecture involving the exhibition of firearms.

(3)(a) Cities, towns, and counties may enact ordinances restricting the areas in their respective jurisdictions in which firearms may be sold, but, except as provided in (b) of this subsection, a business selling firearms may not be treated more restrictively than other businesses located within the same zone. An ordinance requiring the cessation of business within a zone shall not have a shorter grandfather period for businesses selling firearms than for any other businesses within the zone.
     (b) Cities, towns, and counties may restrict the location of a business selling firearms to not less than five hundred feet from primary or secondary school grounds, if the business has a storefront, has hours during which it is open for business, and posts advertisements or signs observable to passersby that firearms are available for sale. A business selling firearms that exists as of the date a restriction is enacted under this subsection (3)(b) shall be grandfathered according to existing law.

(4) Violations of local ordinances adopted under subsection (2) of this section must have the same penalty as provided for by state law.    

(5) The perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by subsection (1) of this section shall be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public as to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.

(6) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
     (a) A person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments, while engaged in official duties;
     (b) Law enforcement personnel, except that subsection (1)(b) of this section does apply to a law enforcement officer who is present at a courthouse building as a party to an action under chapter 10.14, 10.99, or 26.50 RCW, or an action under Title 26 RCW where any party has alleged the existence of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010; or
     (c) Security personnel while engaged in official duties.

(7) Subsection (1)(a), (b), (c), and (e) of this section does not apply to correctional personnel or community corrections officers, as long as they are employed as such, who have completed government-sponsored law enforcement firearms training, except that subsection (1)(b) of this section does apply to a correctional employee or community corrections officer who is present at a courthouse building as a party to an action under chapter 10.14, 10.99, or 26.50 RCW, or an action under Title 26 RCW where any party has alleged the existence of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010.

(8) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to a person licensed pursuant to RCW 9.41.070 who, upon entering the place or facility, directly and promptly proceeds to the administrator of the facility or the administrator's designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm while on the premises or checks his or her firearm. The person may reclaim the firearms upon leaving but must immediately and directly depart from the place or facility.

(9) Subsection (1)(c) of this section does not apply to any administrator or employee of the facility or to any person who, upon entering the place or facility, directly and promptly proceeds to the administrator of the facility or the administrator's designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm while on the premises.

(10) Subsection (1)(d) of this section does not apply to the proprietor of the premises or his or her employees while engaged in their employment.

(11) Government-sponsored law enforcement firearms training must be training that correctional personnel and community corrections officers receive as part of their job requirement and reference to such training does not constitute a mandate that it be provided by the correctional facility.

(12) Any person violating subsection (1) of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

(13) "Weapon" as used in this section means any firearm, explosive as defined in RCW 70.74.010, or instrument or weapon listed in RCW 9.41.250.
[2005 c 453 § 4; 1994 sp.s. c 7 § 408.]

Firearm Transport
(1)(a) Except in the person's place of abode or fixed place of business, a person shall not carry a pistol concealed on his or her person without a license to carry a concealed pistol.
     (b) Every licensee shall have his or her concealed pistol license in his or her immediate possession at all times that he or she is required by this section to have a concealed pistol license and shall display the same upon demand to any police officer or to any other person when and if required by law to do so. Any violation of this subsection (1)(b) shall be a class 1 civil infraction under chapter 7.80 RCW and shall be punished accordingly pursuant to chapter 7.80 RCW and the infraction rules for courts of limited jurisdiction.

(2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol and:
(i) The pistol is on the licensee's person,
(ii) the licensee is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or
(iii) the licensee is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.
     (b) A violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor.

(3)(a) A person at least eighteen years of age who is in possession of an unloaded pistol shall not leave the unloaded pistol in a vehicle unless the unloaded pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.
     (b) A violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor.

(4) Nothing in this section permits the possession of firearms illegal to possess under state or federal law.

Non-Resident Permit
Any person that is not a resident of the State of Washington can apply for a Washington Concealed Pistol License.  The process, requirements, laws, and rules for a non-resident are the same that apply to a Washington resident.

Reciprocity
1)(a) A person licensed to carry a pistol in a state the laws of which recognize and give effect in that state to a concealed pistol license issued under the laws of the state of Washington is authorized to carry a concealed pistol in this state if:
     (i) The licensing state does not issue concealed pistol licenses to persons under twenty-one years of age; and
     (ii) The licensing state requires mandatory fingerprint-based background checks of criminal and mental health history for all persons who apply for a concealed pistol license.

    (b) This section applies to a license holder from another state only while the license holder is not a resident of this state. A license holder from another state must carry the handgun in compliance with the laws of this state.
     (2) The attorney general shall periodically publish a list of states the laws of which recognize and give effect in that state to a concealed pistol license issued under the laws of the state of Washington and which meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a)(i) and (ii) of this section.

Washington honors Resident and Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permit/License from the states listed below:
Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah

The states listed below honors the Resident Washington Concealed Pistol License:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

 

The states listed below honors the Non-Resident Washington Concealed Pistol License:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

If you have questions about our course, feel free to email us at info@shootsafe.org.  Make sure you include your name, the state whose permit you are pursuing, and if you need a call back, a phone number.  We're happy to help.