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Washington Gun Laws

Washington has more restrictive gun laws than many states in the nation. Although the state constitution does guarantee the right to bear arms, Washington courts have repeatedly upheld that this right is not absolute. As such, firearms are generally strongly regulated in Washington. As a “shall issue” state, obtaining a concealed carry license in Washington is a fairly straightforward process.

Washington Gun Laws at a Glance


Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted Yes
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting No
Firearms License Required for Purchasing No
Universal Background Check Yes
Firearm Registration No
Large Capacity Magazine Ban No

Firearm License Requirements


No type of license is required to obtain a firearm in Washington.

Background Checks


Washington requires background checks on the private sales of firearms. It is required that private sellers and buyers process any firearms transactions through a federally licensed firearms dealer. Some exceptions do apply, including gifts between spouses, transfers of antique firearms, and transfers to and from gunsmiths.

Pursuant to federal law, all firearms transfers through licensed dealers require that a background check be conducted on the transferee.

Gun Shows


Washington does not regulate gun shows.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Washington effectively categorizes all semi-automatic rifles as assault rifles. Such weapons have a minimum purchase age of 21 and are subject to a 10-day waiting period prior to purchasing. Further, it is required that purchasers provide proof of firearms education and training to prospective sellers
50 Caliber Rifles Not restricted
Machine Guns Prohibited.
Large Capacity Magazines Not restricted
Ammunition No hardware restrictions. Sellers must be licensed to sell ammunition by the state of Washington.

Prohibited Persons


No person may possess a firearm in Washington if that person:

  • Has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a “serious offense”, including violent crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes, and vehicular assault
  • Has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any felony other than a “serious offense” or certain crimes committed against a member of his or her family or household
  • Has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment and has not had his or her right to possess a firearm restored
  • Has had non-felony, serious offense charges dismissed by a court on the basis that the defendant was found to be incompetent and the court has made a finding that the defendant has a history of violence
  • Has been detained at a facility for seventy-two-hour evaluation and treatment on the grounds that the person presents a likelihood of serious harm (note this prohibition lasts for six months after the date of detainment)
  • Is under 18 years of age
  • Is free on bond or personal recognizance for a “serious offense” and is pending trial or verdict

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Firearms are prohibited on school-provided transportation, at schools, or on school grounds Involvement in any course or event authorized by school authorities

Engagement in security, law enforcement, or military activities

Lawful possession of a firearm while picking up students

Lawful possession of a firearm by any nonstudent over 18 years of age who is conducting business at the school and has secured the firearm in a locked container in a vehicle (note: the firearm must be concealed from sight if it is loaded)
Vehicles Loaded handguns are prohibited in vehicles unless the possessor has a concealed carry license. A concealed carry licensee may only carry a handgun in a vehicle if:
  • The handgun is on the licensee’s person
  • The licensee is within the vehicle when the handgun is present
  • The licensee is away from the vehicle and the handgun is locked and out of view

Concealed Carry Laws


Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Not Enforced
In-Vehicle Carry Permitted with concealed carry license
Restaurant Carry Permitted
State Park Carry Permitted
While Hunting Permitted

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Washington is a “shall issue” state. Any applicant who meets certain qualifications must be granted a concealed carry license.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
  • A concealed carry license will be granted unless the applicant:
  • Is legally ineligible to possess a firearm
  • Is under 21 years of age
  • Is subject to a court order or injunction regarding firearms
  • Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony
  • Has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest due to either a felony ora misdemeanor
  • Has been ordered to forfeit a firearm by a Washington court (within one year prior to the application) or has had a concealed pistol license revoked.

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Washington does not require concealed carry applicants to undergo any type of firearms education or training.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a concealed carry permit, you may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:

  • Any school premises or buses (See above “Vehicles” section for exemptions)
  • Any areas being used by a school
  • Correctional facilities
  • Law enforcement facilities
  • Any area of a building used in connection with court proceedings
  • Restricted access areas of public mental health facilities and the grounds of such facilities
  • Any establishment (or portion thereof) classified by the state liquor and cannabis board as off-limits to persons under 21 years of age
  • Secured areas in airports
  • Licensed child care facilities and emergency respite centers
  • Colleges/universities with firearm policies
  • University of Washington
  • All facilities operated by the Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Outdoor music festivals
  • Racing Association grounds
  • Licensed pregnant and parenting teen residential programs and their facilities
  • Overnight youth shelter & residence operated by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration
  • Anytime if riding a snowmobile
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.