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Understanding Washington State Gun Laws

Washington is continuing to lead the charge towards gun safety reforms as the state passed a ballot to place extreme risk protection orders that give family members and law enforcement the right to petition a court to remove firearms from dangerous individuals. This is an example of a common-sense gun law that could potentially prevent mass shootings throughout Washington and – if nationally implemented – the entire country.

Like many western states, Washington has gun laws that protect people’s right to bear arms and hunt recreationally. Some of the requirements to obtain a gun or a concealed carry license may change, and it’s important that you fully understand these new laws if you live or come to visit Washington. Our competent defense lawyers have experience handling gun crime cases and can help you gain a better understanding of the state laws.

To learn more about the distinct Washington state gun laws, call Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777.

2017 Gun Law Reforms

Some of the main state gun laws in Washington include:

  • Background checks for firearm transfers between private parties
  • Firearm dealers must obtain a state license and impose background checks on all employees
  • The prohibition of certain domestic violence convicts and people subject to a domestic violence order of protection from purchasing or even possessing any kind of firearm
  • The requirement of all firearms dealers to have a license in order to transfer ammunition

With the new 2017 measure, a gun applicant’s constitutional right to bear arms shall not be denied unless they fall under certain stipulations.

You may not be eligible to possess a firearm if:

  • Your concealed pistol license is in a revoked status
  • You are under 21
  • You are subject to a court order or injunction regarding firearms
  • You are free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing of a felony
  • There is a warrant for your arrest
  • You have been ordered to forfeit a firearm under RCW 9.41.098 (e) within a year before filing an application to carry a concealed pistol

Needless to say, the gun laws in Washington are stringent and rather complicated. One of the more controversial aspects of the state’s gun laws deals with concealed carry.

Concealed Carry

Washington is a ‘shall-issue’ state, which means that any local law enforcement has the obligation to issue a concealed weapons license to any applicant who meets the qualifications listed above.

Any person who does qualify for a concealed pistol license must do so within the municipality or county in which they reside. A nonresident of Washington has the right to apply anywhere in the state.

Washington has a law that prohibits the carrying of concealed handguns without a license except in a person’s home or place of business. There are some exceptions for law enforcement officers, military personnel, government employees, target shooting club members, and several other stipulations including the use of firearms within lawful outdoor recreational activity.

It is prohibited to carry a gun regardless of whether someone is lawfully carrying concealed in:

  • Restricted areas of a jail
  • An area used in court proceedings
  • Restricted areas of mental health facilities
  • Any portion of an establishment that is off-limits to people under 21 years of age
  • Restricted access areas of commercial airports
  • Public or private elementary or secondary school premises

How to Apply for a Gun

It’s fairly simple to apply for a concealed pistol license in Washington, and as long as you fulfill the government’s requirements, the local law enforcement is obligated to give you a concealed carry license.

In order to be approved for a concealed carry license, a law-abiding citizen must:

  • Be at least 21-years-old
  • Apply in person at a local law enforcement agency
  • Get fingerprinted for a background check
  • Pay a $48 fee

To get a concealed pistol license, you’ll have to complete a concealed pistol license application, bring in a Photo ID with you, and make your payment to your local law enforcement agency. Once they have your fingerprints, it takes 30 to 60 days to complete the background check. Once that’s done, your license is valid for five years.

Are the Laws Working?

These types of gun law questions are always going to be up for debate, but many of Washington’s gun law initiatives have been backed by independent groups like judges, prosecutors, policemen, health experts, faith leaders, and even gun owners.

As stated earlier, it’s extremely easy for most people to obtain a firearm in Washington, and it’s still rather easy to get a concealed pistol license as well, as compared to other states.

Regardless, the new gun laws in Washington are a step forward not only for the people of the state but also for the entire country.

Talk to Our Spokane Gun Crime Attorneys

Gun charges are serious and you should seek immediate assistance from a competent criminal defense attorney if you are facing these charges. The sooner you reach out to us, the better.

Contact Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 if you have been arrested for a gun charge; we will work hard to protect your rights.