Washington Gun Control Laws

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While the federal government has some limited regulations on firearms, gun control laws are primarily a state law issue. As such, gun control laws vary widely from one state to another.

Washington State Gun Control Laws

Washington gun control laws require a ten-day waiting period before purchasing handguns, up to 60 days for non-residents. The state also prohibits non-citizens, those convicted of certain domestic violence violations, individuals under the age of 21, and others from purchasing and possessing firearms.

How to Apply for a Concealed Weapons Permit

In some cases, a person may be able to carry a concealed weapon. To do so, you must have a permit issued by the state of Washington. The purchase of a pistol from a dealer requires a concealed carry permit.

Requirements for a Concealed Weapons Permit

To obtain a concealed weapons permit, you must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older at time of application.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Have no pending trial, appeal, or sentencing on a charge that would prohibit you from having a license.
  • Have no outstanding warrants for any charge, from any court.
  • Have no court order or injunction against possessing a firearm.
  • Have no mental health conditions that would prohibit you from having a license.
  • Have no felony convictions, or adjudications for a felony offense, in or out of state.
  • Have no convictions for certain domestic violence crimes committed by one family member against another on or after July 1, 1993.
  • Have not been an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana, depressants, stimulants, narcotics, or any other controlled substances within the past year.

Are Background Checks Required for a Washington Concealed Weapon Permit?

Background checks are required when applying for a Washington concealed carry permit, including the state background system and the national instant criminal background check system. (RCW 9.41.090)

How Long Does it Take to Get a Concealed Weapons Permit?

It may take up to 30 days to complete the background check before the license is issued. If you do not have a Washington driver's license or identification card, it can take up to 60 days.

The basics of Washington gun control laws are listed below. See our article on details of state gun control laws for more information.

Code Section Washington Revised Code, Title 9, Section 9.41.040, et seq.
Illegal Arms

These guns are illegal to possess:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled shotgun or rifle
  • Defaced firearm
Waiting Period You must wait 10 business days (up to 60 days for nonresidents) after a dealer requests your background check to receive your firearm (RCW 9.41.092)
Who May Not Own a Firearm

These individuals may not own a firearm:

  • Non-citizens who do not have a green card;
  • Individuals convicted of a serious offense or domestic violence/harassment offense or a felony in which a firearm was used or displayed (unless charge dismissed or received probation);
  • Minors under 18, except as provided (hunter's safety course, hunting, trapping, etc.);
  • Individuals convicted of a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (or equivalent);
  • Individuals convicted three times within five years of driving under the influence; and
  • Individuals committed by court for treatment of mental illness.
Law Prohibiting Firearms on or Near School Grounds Possessing a firearm on or near school grounds is a misdemeanor (see section 9.41.280).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Need More Information on Washington Gun Laws? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Because Washington has strict gun laws, there are harsh penalties that can apply to violations. If you carried a concealed weapon without a permit or are facing other gun charges, then you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Washington who can evaluate the strength of the prosecutor's case against you and analyze your options going forward.

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Contact a qualified attorney.