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Basic Carry Laws: Washington

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Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task armed Americans must undertake. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in the state of Washington below.

Getting A Washington Permit

Open carry is legal without a permit. The minimum age to carry a loaded handgun in public is 21 years old. However, a valid permit/license to carry is required in order to carry a loaded handgun in any vehicle in Washington.

Concealed carry is legal for residents with a Washington Concealed Pistol License (CPL) and for non-residents with a license/permit from a state that Washington honors. CPLs are issued to residents and non-residents that are at least 21 years old. In terms of reciprocity, Washington recognizes permits from other states that meet specific requirements.

An individual may carry a personal protection pepper spray device, stun gun or Taser for personal protection. All of those listed are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Permits are not required when buying a handgun. There is no firearm registration in Washington. However, retail dealers must record and report all retail pistol sales to local police/sheriff and the State Department of Licensing. With limited exceptions, private-party transfers of firearms must be conducted through a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL). A person must be at least 18 years old to possess or transport a handgun in Washington. Although there is no mandatory waiting period for handguns, Washington allows 10 days to complete a background check on a prospective handgun purchaser prior to delivery of the handgun.

Where Can One Carry in Washington?

In terms of locations where a concealed handgun may be carried, carry is allowed at roadside rest areas with a Washington CCW or a permit issued by a state that Washington honors. An individual is not required to inform a law enforcement officer if he or she is carrying a concealed firearm unless the officer asks. Washington does not restrict maximum handgun magazine capacity. No handgun ammunition types are specifically forbidden in the state.

Other areas where permit holders can carry concealed are:

  • Areas of restaurants where persons under the age of 21 are allowed (however, concealed carry is not allowed in bars or the bar areas of restaurants)
  • State/national parks
  • State/national forests
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Places of worship (unless posted)

Locations where carry is prohibited even for permit holders include:

  • Bars or the bar areas of restaurants
  • Public or private elementary or secondary school premises, areas of other facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools, and school-provided transportation
  • Licensed child care facilities and emergency respite centers
  • University of Washington
  • Correctional facilities
  • Law enforcement facilities
  • Any area of a building used in connection with court proceedings
  • Restricted access areas of public mental health facilities
  • The grounds of any state institution for the care and treatment of mental illness
  • Any portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor and cannabis board as off-limits to persons under 21 years of age
  • Secured areas in airports
  • 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 and residence operated by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration
  • Anytime while riding a snowmobile
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law

Visit the USCCA Washington gun laws page now….


The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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