Washington Gun Laws
The state of Washington does not have any outstanding restrictions in concerns to firearms. No firearm license is necessary to purchase or to possess a firearm. However, a certain application process is required for the purchase of a handguns that is not necessary for the purchase of rifles or shotguns.
An application must be made for any individual seeking to purchase a handgun. The application will contain the person’s name, address, driver’s license number, and the race and gender of the individual. The application also requires that the model, type, caliber, and manufacturer’s number be included as well. A statement by the purchaser that he/she is eligible to be in a possession of a pistol is required with the application. There is a five day waiting period for the delivery of the pistol to the buyer.
Non-residents may have to wait a total of 60 days if the applicant has not been a resident of the state for at least three months. However, the waiting period may be extended yet another thirty days if it is deemed by the local police chief or sheriff that the applicant may not be eligible for the possession of a pistol, and further information is needed to verify the applicant’s status as eligible.
Though there is no formal registration needed under Washington firearm laws for gun owners or firearms, police records are kept for the purchase of all firearms. This acts as a form of registration that is not mandated by law, and the proper authorities can keep track of firearms and their owners to a certain extent.
Possession of a firearm does not require a firearm license by the state. The age requirement for an individual to be in legal possession of a firearm is 18 years. Minors under the age of 18 may be in legal possession of a firearm if they can provide for a valid hunter’s license or hunter’s safety certificate. This juncture, however, only applies to shotguns and rifles, and excludes handgun possession.
A minor actively engaged in hunting or other sporting activities at the time of possession is legally excluded and may carry any firearm at said time. This also includes while traveling to and from such activities, as long as the firearm is unloaded and not easily accessible if found in possession while in a motor vehicle.
Certain requirements must be met in order to be considered eligible for possession under Washington law. Individuals that have a history of felony charges are immediately disqualified. Individuals that are not legal citizens of the United States may not possess a firearm unless they are provided with an alien firearm license from the appropriate authorities.
The director in charge issuing the alien firearm license is required to contact the nearest consulate office of the alien’s country, and insure that the person is of good standing and responsible enough to possess a firearm. Canadian citizens are exempt to this law, as long as they residents of a province that has furnished them the necessary license or permit, and are carrying the weapons for lawful purposes such as hunting, trapping or skeet shooting.
A firearm license to carry a concealed weapon is required by the state. The only time this does not apply is if a person is within the immediate confines of his/her place of residence or place of business.
The minimum age for possession is 21 years, and the individual seeking to apply for a firearm license to carry a concealed weapon must meet the criteria of eligibility as imposed by state laws and regulations. Some of these statutes include that the applicant be free of any arrest warrants for felony or misdemeanor charges, and no criminal history of a felonies or misdemeanors on record.
Fingerprinting is required for the applicant to conduct the necessary background checks to insure eligibility. It is illegal to enter any government facility, office, or building that prohibits concealed weapon carry, even if the person has a firearm license for concealed carry. This also includes public facilities such as schools or airports.