Weapons laws (Chapter 9.41 RCW)
Washington does not have general pistol or firearm licensing requirements. Retail dealers must record and report all retail pistol sales, but other guns are not required to be registered. You may not own a machine gun or short barreled shotguns (SBS). Short barreled rifles (SBRs) and suppressors are legal. There is no 'assault weapons' ban. Private firearm sales are illegal. Concealed carry permits are shall issue and open carry is legal without a permit to anyone 21 and older (pistols).
"Loaded" means, 9.41.010(14):
Marijuana is a Schedule I Controlled Substance under federal law. The ATF has found that users of marijuana are prohibited persons (see below) and may not possess firearms. Question 11.e. on the ATF Form 4473 used for firearm purchases specifically asks if buyers are marijuana users.
Gun Free ZonesThe perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by 9.41.300(1) 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.
You cannot carry a firearm into restricted access areas of a jail, or of a law enforcement facility, or detention centers, 9.41.300(1)(a). It is illegal if a 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. Concealed pistol licensees may check their weapons with prison authorities, 9.94.043.
Firearms may not be carried in courthouses, including offices and areas used to conduct court business, waiting areas, and corridors. This does not include common areas of egress or ingress open to the general public. The restricted areas do not include common areas of ingress and egress to the building, when it is possible to protect court areas without restricting ingress and egress to the building. The restricted areas shall be the minimum necessary.
The local legislative authority must 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.
Public Buildings 9.41.300(1)
You may not carry in:
State Capitol WAC 200-200-215
No person shall carry any firearm or other dangerous weapon except concealed pistol licensees.
Foster Homes, Group Homes, and Shelters WAC 388-145-1660(1)
Guns, ammunition, and other weapons are not permitted on the premises such a facility.
Local Public Buildings 9.41.300
Municipalities may restrict the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, except for concealed pistol licensees or at gun shows, (2)(b).
Administrative Hearing Facilities WAC 10-20-010
Firearms are prohibited in 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 including concealed pistol licensees. This prohibition does not apply to lawful firearms or other lawful weapons while confined to private motor vehicles in parking areas at hearings facilities.
You may not carry a firearm on the site of an outdoor music festival (70.108.140), except: "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. This does not include government sponsored fairs, any regular place of worship, stadium, athletic field, arena, auditorium, coliseum, or other similar places of assembly which do not exceed by more than 250 people the maximum seating capacity of the structure. (70.108.020)
Bar/restaurant carry, 9.41.300(d)
Firearms are prohibited in the portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under 21 years of age. This would allow carrying in the dining portion of restaurants (not the bar), but not over-21 only establishments. There is no law prohibiting consumption of alcohol while carrying a firearm. This does not apply to the proprietor of the premises or his or her employees while engaged in their employment. There are no laws prohibiting consumption of alcohol while carrying a firearm.
You may not carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used by public/private schools except that permittees are exempt while picking up or dropping off a student or by non-students in vehicles, 9.41.280. "GUN-FREE ZONE" signs shall be posted around school facilities giving warning of the prohibition of the possession of firearms on school grounds.
This does not apply to :
Colleges and universities almost universally have the same prohibition on students possessing weapons and requiring weapons to be kept entirely within vehicles by licensees only. Generally, most campuses permit concealed pistol licensees to store a firearm in their vehicle on campus. Some campuses allow firearms to be stored with security/police and some have exemptions for legitimate teaching purposes. Restrictions are too numerous to list individually; check local campus policy or search the Admin. Code. Campus policies generally only apply to students, non-students without business may be asked to leave.
The State School for the Blind/Deaf is a prohibited carry location, WAC 148-140-080.
Can I carry a gun near a school? Don't I have to be 1000 feet away?
This is a federal law that is not enforced by Washington law enforcement and there is no applicable similar Washington law (unlike some states). You generally will not be prosecuted unless you are doing something else illegal, such as involved in gang activity or drug violations, that interest federal law enforcement. The law was intended to apply to drug dealers and gang members, not the law abiding citizen.
The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 basically states that one cannot "knowingly to possess a firearm [...] in "a school zone." 'School zone' is defined as "in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school; or (B) within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school." It includes all public roads and sidewalks within that 1,000 foot buffer zone. It does not apply on private property, to a licensed concealed firearm permittee (state law does prohibit guns on campuses except with written authorization), or an unloaded weapon in a locked container/rack.
The law was found unconstitutional in its original version, so, to skirt the constitutional issue, the language was altered to say that it was a matter of 'interstate commerce' as all guns have moved in interstate travel as part of manufacturing and shipping and thus under the authority of Congress.
Car carry 9.41.050
You may not carry a loaded pistol in a vehicle without a concealed pistol license, (2)(a). Unlicensed open carry in a vehicle is illegal, unless the pistol is unloaded. A vehicle may not be left unattended unless the unloaded pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle, (3)(a).
Concealed car carry (2)(a)
Concealed pistol licensees may carry a loaded pistol in a vehicle, including open carry, when:
Buses, trains, mass transit
You are prohibited from carrying a firearm on a bus, train, or other form of mass transit (a vehicle, 9.41.050) in a manner that is illegal, 9.91.025(f). Therefore, firearms would need to be unloaded or the carrier a concealed pistol licensee to carry openly or concealed.
You may not carry in the restricted access areas (beyond the TSA checkpoints) of a commercial service airport, 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. There are no "exemptions" or free passes for "mistakes"; the TSA does not have a sense of humor has had travelers arrested and/or prosecuted. Check your bags! Even loose ammunition, empty magazines, spent cases, and miscellaneous gun parts have caused problems and prosecutions for travelers. Learn more about the TSA regulations.
You may not carry any loaded weapon upon, nor hunt from, any snowmobile except by permit issued by the director of fish and wildlife, 46.10.495.
It is legal to carry a loaded firearm, concealed or unconcealed, in your own home or on your own property without a permit, 9.41.050 (1)(a).
No guns signs
Signs do not have the force of law. Private property owners can choose to prohibit firearms and exclude carriers. Failure to leave or disarm when requested would be simple trespassing.
Indian tribes can make their own laws regarding firearms and recognition of concealed weapon permits and allowance for open carry and recognition of concealed handgun licenses varies from reservation to reservation. Tribes cannot enforce tribal law on non-tribal members, though they can enforce state and federal law. It is impossible to provide general rules or advice when it comes to reservations. Reports of illegal stops, searches, seizures, and arrests by tribal police can be found online. Individual reservation police or authorities should be contacted for guidance and tribal law.
Emergency Powers 43.06.220(1)(e)
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 the possession of firearms or any other deadly weapon by a person in a place other than that person's place of residence or business.