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WASHINGTON GUN LAWS

Get The Latest Facts

All you need to know about Washington gun laws.
 
We look at all the in’s and out’s of carrying a handgun in Washington.
 
Keep reading…

Ashington gun laws operate on a “Shall Issue” policy. Open carry is legal without a permit but not common, you will need a permit if you want to carry a handgun in a vehicle (car, bus, train). Concealed carry permits are issued to residents and non-residents by the local sheriff or Police Department. There is no requirement to attend a firearms training course in Washington but you must be at least 21 years old and meet other conditions to obtain a license.

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TOTAL ACTIVE CPL

578299

LICENSES IN WASHINGTON

Gun Laws
STATE RATING 58%

STATES THAT HONOR

25

A WASHINGTON PERMIT
 

STATE PERMITS

9

WASHINGTON HONORS

STATES NOT

25

HONORING PERMIT
 

Washington CPL Reciprocity

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Permit Honored
Permit not honored
Issuing state
How Reciprocity Works in Washington
Under Washington law the state can only honor another states concealed carry license if;
  • the other state honors a Washington concealed carry license.
  • The state does not issue CPL licences to persons under the age of 21.
  • The state has fingerprint based checks for background and mental health history on applicants.
Currently only 9 states meet these requirements for their licenses to be honored by Washington.

Washington Reciprocity State's

25 STATES

Resident License Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin Non-Resident License Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

9 STATES

Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah

25 STATES

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming
Idaho – Only the Idaho Enhanced Permit is honored by Washington.
North Dakota – Only the Class 1 North Dakota Permit is honored by Washington.
RCW 9.41.073 – Reciprocity

Washington Handgun License

Washington Gun Policy

Shall Issue

Permit Issued To

Residents, Non-residents
CPL LICENSE OVERVIEW

The area you reside in will determine who you apply to for a handgun license.

  • If you reside in an unincorporated area of a county applications are made at the sheriffs office.
  • If you reside in an incorporated city area of a county the you can apply at either the sheriff office or the police department.
  • If you reside in another state then you can apply for a license at any local law enforcement agency in Washington.
NON-RESIDENT LICENSES

Non-resident CCW licenses are issued in Washington state. The process is the same as for a resident of Washington but cannot be done via mail and requires that you appear in person. This means you will need to make a trip to Washington to obtain the license. The application process will take about 60 days.

$36

5

Washington CPL Handgun Forms

Download Your Forms

Washington: Places Off-Limits for CPL

Washington State Flat

Places Off-Limits in Washington

  • Public schools
  • Correctional facility
  • Law enforcement facility
  • State courthouses
  • Mental health facilities
  • Outdoor music festival
  • Secured areas in airports
  • Places listed below that have Rules that state no firearms allowed on Premises;
    • Colleges/Universities,
    • Licensed Child Care Facilities,
    • Racing Association Grounds,
    • An Emergency Respite Center,
    • Licensed Pregnant and Parenting Teen Residential Programs And Their Facilities,
    • Licensed Homes and Facilities That Provide Care To Children,
    • Overnight Youth Shelter & Residence Operated By the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration
  • All facilities operated by the Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law. 

Places Allowed in Washington

  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Road side rest areas
  • Vehicle
  • All areas of the state, except those listed as Off-Limits

Washington CPL Video Clips

Other Washington Gun Laws

Washington Concealed Carry Laws

Washington state capitol building

Washington Gun Laws To Know

NO – WITHOUT A PERMIT

Without a License – If you do not have a permit then it is illegal to carry a loaded firearm in any vehicle. You can still carry a firearm if it is unloaded and in a closed opaque case or secure wrapper.

With a License –  you can carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle as long as you have your permit with you at all times.

The Law
RCW 9.41.050
RCW 9.41.060

NO – MUST INFORM OFFICER

Washington gun laws require you to have your CCW license on you at all times you are carrying a firearm and display the permit to an officer if requested to do so. You do not have to inform law enforcement you are carrying a firearm. The Law RCW 9.41.050 – Carrying firearms

YES

It is legal to carry in the following areas;

  • State Parks:       YES – WAC 352.32.120
  • State/National Forests:     YES – WAC 332.52.145
  • State Wildlife Management Areas:     YES – WAC 220.500.140
  • Road Side Rest Areas:     YES
NO

“No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in Washington gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits. GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons” sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.

YES – WITH OR WITHOUT A PERMIT

Open carry without a permit is legal. However, you will need a CCW license to carry a loaded firearm in any vehicle. Any vehicle means cars, buses, and trains. The minimum age for open carry is 21. The Law
29-11.7-704

YES

In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

You are restricted to areas of the restaurant where persons under the age of 21 are allowed.

“Yes” or “No” states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with “NO GUN” signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol. The Law
RCW 9.41.300

NO

Washington does not have constitutional carry.

“The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
(Art. I, § 24)

Washington Off-Limit Statutes

Weapons Prohibited In Certain Places — Local Laws and Ordinances — Exceptions — Penalty.

(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
Carrying firearms

(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.
Possessing Dangerous Weapons on School Facilities

(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools” (3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

  • (a) Any firearm;
  • (b) Any other dangerous weapon as defined in RCW 9.41.250;

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

  • (e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is Exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;
  • (f) Any nonstudent at least eighteen years of age legally in possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon that is secured within an attended vehicle or concealed from view within a locked unattended vehicle while conducting legitimate business at the school;
  • (g) Any nonstudent at least eighteen years of age who is in lawful possession of an unloaded firearm, secured in a vehicle while conducting legitimate business at the school; or

(7) “GUN-FREE ZONE” signs shall be posted around school facilities giving warning of the prohibition of the possession of firearms on school grounds.

Firearms—Penalty.

“It shall be unlawful for any person, except law enforcement officers, to carry, transport or convey, or to have in his possession or under his control any firearm while on the site of an outdoor music festival.”

(3) “Outdoor music festival” or “music festival” or “festival” means an assembly of persons gathered primarily for outdoor, live or recorded musical entertainment, where the predicted attendance is two thousand persons or more and where the duration of the program is five hours or longer: PROVIDED, That this definition shall not be applied to any regularly established permanent place of worship, stadium, athletic field, arena, auditorium, coliseum, or other similar permanently established places of assembly for assemblies which do not exceed by more than two hundred fifty people the maximum seating capacity of the structure where the assembly is held: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That this definition shall not apply to government sponsored fairs held on regularly established fairgrounds nor to assemblies required to be licensed under other laws or regulations of the state.

Deadly weapons — Possession on Premises by Person Not a Prisoner — Penalty.

A person, other than a person serving a sentence in a penal institution of this state, is guilty of possession of contraband on the premises of a state correctional institution in the first degree if, without authorization to do so, the person knowingly possesses or has under his or her control a deadly weapon on or in the buildings or adjacent grounds subject to the care, control, or supervision of a state correctional institution. Deadly weapon is used as defined in RCW 9A.04.110: PROVIDED, That such correctional buildings, grounds, or property are properly posted pursuant to RCW 9.94.047, and such person has knowingly entered thereon: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the provisions of this section do not apply to a person licensed pursuant to RCW 9.41.070 who, upon entering the correctional institution premises, proceeds directly along an access road to the administration building and promptly checks his or her firearm(s) with the appropriate authorities. The person may reclaim his or her firearm(s) upon leaving, but he or she must immediately and directly depart from the premises.

Possession of contraband on the premises of a state correctional institution in the first degree is a class B felony.

Firearms, Weapons Prohibited In Administrative Hearings.
WAC 10-20-010 (1) & 10-20-030

(1) Firearms or other dangerous weapons are prohibited at all facilities owned, leased, or operated by the office of administrative hearings and in rooms where the office of administrative hearings is conducting an administrative hearing. This prohibition applies to all parties or witnesses at hearings, all office of administrative hearings employees, and all other persons present. However, it does not apply to law enforcement personnel, security personnel, or military personnel, all while engaged in official duties.

(3) Possession of a valid concealed weapons permit is not a defense to the prohibition in this section.

Additional Violations — Penalty.

  1. No person shall operate a snowmobile in such a way as to endanger human life.
  2. No person shall operate a snowmobile in such a way as to run down or harass deer, elk, or any wildlife, or any domestic animal, nor shall any person carry any loaded weapon upon, nor hunt from, any snowmobile except by permit issued by the director of fish and wildlife under RCW 77.32.237.
  3. Any person violating this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Other Washington CCW Statutes

Concealed Pistol License — 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.

Carrying Firearms.

(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.

Carrying Firearms.

(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.

Exceptions to Restrictions on Carrying Firearms.

The provisions of RCW 9.41.050 shall not apply to:

(4) Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of the person, if possessing, using, or carrying a pistol in the usual or ordinary course of the business;

(6) Regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for the purpose of target shooting, when those members are at or are going to or from their places of target practice;

(7) Regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for the purpose of modern and antique firearm collecting, when those members are at or are going to or from their collector’s gun shows and exhibits;

(8) Any person engaging in a lawful outdoor recreational activity such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, or horseback riding, only if, considering all of the attendant circumstances, including but not limited to whether the person has a valid hunting or fishing license, it is reasonable to conclude that the person is participating in lawful outdoor activities or is traveling to or from a legitimate outdoor recreation area;

(9) Any person while carrying a pistol unloaded and in a closed opaque case or secure wrapper.

State Preemption.

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality

(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

 

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

(14) “Loaded” means:

  • (a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the firearm;
  • (b) Cartridges are in a clip that is locked in place in the firearm;
  • (c) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the firearm, if the firearm is a revolver;
  • (d) There is a cartridge in the tube or magazine that is inserted in the action; or
  • (e) There is a ball in the barrel and the firearm is capped or primed if the firearm is a muzzle loader.

State of Emergency — Powers of Governor Pursuant to Proclamation.

(1) The governor after proclaiming a state of emergency and prior to terminating such, may, in the area described by the proclamation issue an order prohibiting:

  • (a) Any person being on the public streets, or in the public parks, or at any other public place during the hours declared by the governor to be a period of curfew;
  • (b) Any number of persons, as designated by the governor, from assembling or gathering on the public streets, parks, or other open areas of this state, either public or private;
  • (c) The manufacture, transfer, use, possession or transportation of a molotov cocktail or any other device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion;
  • (d) The transporting, possessing or using of gasoline, kerosene, or combustible, flammable, or explosive liquids or materials in a glass or uncapped container of any kind except in connection with the normal operation of motor vehicles, normal home use or legitimate commercial use;
  • (e) The possession of firearms or any other deadly weapon by a person (other than a law enforcement officer) in a place other than that person’s place of residence or business;
  • (f) The sale, purchase or dispensing of alcoholic beverages; (g) The sale, purchase or dispensing of other commodities or goods, as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace;
  • (h) The use of certain streets, highways or public ways by the public; and
  • (i) Such other activities as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.

(2) The governor after proclaiming a state of emergency and prior to terminating such may, in the area described by the proclamation, issue an order or orders concerning waiver or suspension of statutory obligations or limitations in any or all of the following areas as further specified and limited by chapter 181, Laws of 2008:

  • (a) Liability for participation in interlocal agreements;
  • (b) Inspection fees owed to the department of labor and industries;
  • (c) Application of the family emergency assistance program;
  • (d) Regulations, tariffs, and notice requirements under the jurisdiction of the utilities and transportation commission;
  • (e) Application of tax due dates and penalties relating to collection of taxes; and
  • (f) Permits for industrial, business, or medical uses of alcohol.

(3) In imposing the restrictions provided for by RCW 43.06.010, and 43.06.200 through 43.06.270, the governor may impose them for such times, upon such conditions, with such exceptions and in such areas of this state he or she from time to time deems necessary.

(4) Any person willfully violating any provision of an order issued by the governor under this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Washington CPL FAQ's

30 – 60 Days The application for a concealed carry license must be processed within 30 days of the application being received if you have a Washington drivers license. If you do not have a Washington drivers license or have not resided in the state for the last 90 days then the processing time increases to 90 days.

Concealed carry permits/licenses are issued by the police chief or sheriff in the area of your residence. A non-resident can apply anywhere in the state.

The Washington state courts have ruled that employers can create rules that prohibit the carrying of firearms by employees at work. So the decision is up to your employer.

No, you only need a permit to conceal carry handguns in Washington.

Yes, if you are at least 18 years old. But you can only carry in the following places;

  • Your residence
  • Your fixed place of business
  • Any property under your control

The attorney General does not give opinions to private citizens. The only people that can request an opinion are;

  • State elected officials
  • Washington state Legislature members.
  • Heads of state boards, agencies or commissions.
  • County prosecutors

No, you can open carry without a permit. But it is not common and may attract unwanted attention. Also you would need a permit to open or conceal carry a handgun in a vehicle. You cannot open carry loaded long guns in a vehicle, whether you have a permit or not.

There are no training courses required to obtain a concealed carry license in Washington.

Washington CPL Contact

King County Courthouse

Hours


Monday – Friday           8:30am – 4:30pm

Saturday                         Closed

Sunday                           Closed

Contact


Address     516 Third ave, Rm W-150

City             Seattle, WA 98104

Phone        (206) 263-2626

 
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