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 Washington State Frequently Asked Questions About Gun Carry 
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1) Where can I carry in Washington?
Washington State follows British legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful (also called the "Rule of Lenity," which stands for the proposition that whatever is not prohibited by law is allowed.) So the real question is; where can you NOT carry in Washington? There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of: RCW 9.41.050 (Carrying Firearms), RCW 9.41.280 (Carry on School Grounds), RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places), and RCW 70.108.150 (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals). It is your responsibility to read and understand the definitions and exceptions in the law. RCW 9.41.050 is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL(see RCW 9.41.060 on Exceptions). Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers). Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license. There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of: 18 USC 922 (q) , which prohibit the carrying of a handgun within 1000 feet of a school unless you are licensed to carry or meet another exemption to this law. The constitutionality of this law is questionable in light of United States v. Lopez and District of Columbia v. Heller. To our knowledge, there has been no prosecutions of this law where this is the sole charge. 18 USC 930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility."

2) What is "Warranting alarm"?
Why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal to open carry? In 1969, RCW 9.41.270 was passed in light of the intimidating actions of the Black Panther Party in both the State of California and in Seattle. Analysis of the legislative intent behind the bill and final law indicated that the Washington State Legislature never intended this to be a gun control bill, and stripped out in committee provisions of the bill which would have prohibited carry within 500 feet of any "public building" for fear it would ensnare a peaceable open carrier walking nearby, thereby violating a person’s rights under Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution. This is not to say that all forms of open carry are lawful. The key word is "peaceable".

3) Can I open carry on a Bus, Train, Ferry, Personal Auto, Motorcycle or Bicycle?
(RCW 9.91.025) The right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion is not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound /Amtrak is not a municipal transit vehicle). Busses, Trains & the Ferries are considered vehicles in Washington. You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in or on any vehicle if you possess a CPL (RCW 9.41.050 (2a) ). Amtrak If there is nothing prohibiting such Conduct..., then, it is Safe to assume such Conduct Legal. However, Federal Law, Enumerated under TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 97 , § 1992 states: § 1992(7) Commits an Act, Including the USE of a Dangerous Weapon, with the Intent to cause Death or Serious Bodily Injury to any Person who is on Property described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of Paragraph (4); Under Federal Law, the USE of Firearms with such INTENT is what is ILLEGAL, not just having them. Under Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 930,Trains, including Amtrak, do NOT qualify as Federal Facilities, because Amtrak employees are NOT federal Employees.

4) Can I carry in a bank, grocery store, church?
They are all private property and may impose their own rules. The Federal Government may own shares of a bank but they DO NOT function as Federal Property.

5) Can I carry at or near a school? Or College?
(RCW 9.41.280) If you have a valid CPL and are picking up or dropping off a student you are allowed on the school grounds. Firearms are not permitted in school buildings. Colleges set their own policies, which ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia is the only college in this state we know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus at this time.

6) Can I own a suppressor?
( RCW 9.41.250) Yes, as long the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law [EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/22/11 one may begin to use their suppressor in Washington State].

7) I saw a park sign saying no firearms. Is that legal?
(RCW 9.41.290) No. Washington State has preempted all firearms laws regarding possession. You may carry in any city, county, state, National Forest or National Park in Washington State.

8) Can I carry with a round in the chamber?
(RCW 9.41.010) & (RCW 77.15.460) defines "loaded" in Washington State.

9) How old do you have to be to carry a loaded handgun?
(RCW 9.41.240) You must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public. See (RCW 9.41.060) for exceptions.

10) What states accept the Washington CPL?
AK, AR, AZ, FL, IA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, MT, MO, NC, ND, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI

11) Can I carry in a bar? (RCW 9.41.300)
No. You cannot carry in a place where alcohol is consumed AND is off limits to persons under 21. Restaurants that serve alcohol are fine.

12) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when?
The law is somewhat vague, but essentially IF you are required to have a CPL in your possession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded in/on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though.

13) Is there a list of gun friendly businesses?

Yes, Friend or Foe is a website you can plug in a zip code or city and find those pro businesses. Green is pro / red is anti. http://www.friendorfoe.us/

14) Where can I see a list of all available training bulletins from law enforcement agencies across Washington?
http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?action=downloads

15) TSA regs on Flying with a handgun
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ ... _1666.shtm

16) Where can I get information on firearms & licensing?
http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/index.html

17) Washington Gun Rights Pamphlet
http://www.washingtongunrights.com/wgr.pdf

18) Gun Ranges and Gun Shops across Washington
http://www.waguns.org/rangemap
http://www.waguns.org/storemap

This FAQ is available at: http://www.washingtongunrights.com/faq.pdf

No license is needed to open carry however it is highly recommended that any person who open carries in the State of Washington acquire a CPL. Washington is a “Shall Issue” state for CPL’s. Meaning that if you meet the requirements in RCW 9.41.070you will be issued a license within 30 days(resident) and 90 days(non-resident) by law.

This document is in no way legal advice. Consult an attorney on legal matters.


Last edited by Bill Starks on Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:26 am
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I could not find anything on handgun.us. Does anybody know if you can conceal carry into the DOL?


Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:12 pm
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cquintWA wrote:
I could not find anything on handgun.us. Does anybody know if you can conceal carry into the DOL?


Oh hell yes!

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Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:17 pm
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You can Open Carry to the DOL too!


Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:14 pm
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Most of the state offices are good to go on carry however DSHS & Work Source have been posting signs that say no weapons and posting the RCW 9.41.270 as reference. However you are still legal to carry in those places. I had the Lakewood office threaten and did call law enforcement. They were told that I was breaking no laws unless I was intimidating a public servant RCW 9A.176.80. 9A.76.180 signage can be found at all of the L&I buildings.

RCW 9A.76.180Intimidating a public servant.
*** CHANGE IN 2011 *** (SEE 5045.SL) ***
(1) A person is guilty of intimidating a public servant if, by use of a threat, he attempts to influence a public servant's vote, opinion, decision, or other official action as a public servant.
(2) For purposes of this section "public servant" shall not include jurors.
(3) "Threat" as used in this section means
(a) to communicate, directly or indirectly, the intent immediately to use force against any person who is present at the time; or
(b) threats as defined in (RCW 9A.04.110(25) .
(4) Intimidating a public servant is a class B felony.

[1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.76.180.]


Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:57 am
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Also just out of curiosity. Can you carry into a police station? I know the RCW says no on a secured area but what about the non secure are just behind the counter area?


Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:20 am
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cquintWA wrote:
Also just out of curiosity. Can you carry into a police station? I know the RCW says no on a secured area but what about the non secure are just behind the counter area?


The public areas are fine but some stations seem to have issue with it.


Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:25 pm
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Updated Wisconsin to the list of states that accept the Washington CPL.


Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:26 pm
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There may be off topic, or wrong area, but can check your gun in at a courthouse before the metal detector, or is there absolutely no firearms?


Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:48 pm
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A courthouse is required by LAW to have a place to securely store your weapon. That is via a lockbox, or via an assigned deputy to take and store your weapon. You walk up to the metal detectors and tell the security there that you have a firearm that you need to check / have secured. The rest is clockwork.

One thing to note, this law DOES NOT apply to Federal Court buildings. NO GUNS there.


Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:52 pm
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Updated the OP to add in hot links to the specific RCW list (or US code) for quicker reference. Please let me know if any links go missing or broken.

Also a bump for anyone new to the site or open carry / CCW.

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Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:23 pm
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I've been curious about this for awhile. Is it legal to have a concealed pistol in a vehicle when there are occupants who do not possess a CPL present? I.E. I'm driving a family member or friend somewhere and my pistol is concealed in the cabin, off my person**.

**FYI: I have a policy of always keeping my firearm on my person even when I'm in my vehicle


Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:16 pm
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CZshooter wrote:
I've been curious about this for awhile. Is it legal to have a concealed pistol in a vehicle when there are occupants who do not possess a CPL present? I.E. I'm driving a family member or friend somewhere and my pistol is concealed in the cabin, off my person**.

**FYI: I have a policy of always keeping my firearm on my person even when I'm in my vehicle

Yes.

The pistol is yours, not theirs. And you have the CPL.

As long as you haven't concealed it on one of your passengers...

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Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:32 pm
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RCW 9.41.050


(2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol and: (i) The pistol is on the licensee's person, (ii) the licensee is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or (iii) the licensee is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.


Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:52 pm
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cquintWA wrote:
RCW 9.41.050


(2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol and: (i) The pistol is on the licensee's person, (ii) the licensee is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there, or (iii) the licensee is away from the vehicle and the pistol is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle.

Exactly.

He has a liscense to carry. And he is within the vehicle at all times that the pistol is there.

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Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:58 pm
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