Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a concealed carry permit varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Washington Concealed Pistol License (CPL) below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether permits include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, permit duration, permit costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry Permit Basics

Washington is a shall-issue state where concealed carry licenses are issued at the local level by the sheriff or police department. This means licensing authorities are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law.

Open carry is legal without a license for anyone at least 21 years old who is legally allowed to possess a firearm. 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. There is no current requirement to attend a firearms training course.

It is unlawful for any person to “carry, exhibit, display or draw any firearm or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.” There are exemptions to the law, one of which is for any person acting for the purpose of protecting oneself or another against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another.

NOTE: On March 23, 2022, Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5078 into law, prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution selling and offering for sale of rifle and pistol magazines that hold 10 or more rounds. It will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry permit/permit as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the Permit Requirements in Washington?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have no pending charges
  • Have no outstanding arrest warrants
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Not be subject to a court order or injunction concerning the possession of firearms
  • Not be free on bond or personal recognizance while awaiting trial, appeal or sentencing for a felony offense
  • Not have been asked to forfeit a firearm within the last 12 months
  • Not have a revoked concealed pistol license
  • Meet federal law requirements

Do I Need Firearms Training in Washington?

Washington does not require the applicant to complete a firearms safety course or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety prior to issuance of a pistol license. However, the USCCA recommends that anyone who makes the choice to carry a concealed firearm obtain as much training as possible in order to be a responsibly armed American.

How Do I Get a Concealed Carry Permit in Washington?

Step 1: Complete an application form at your local city police department or sheriff’s office or download the application.

Step 2: Take the completed application to the law enforcement office with the following:

  • Proof you have lived in the state for at least 90 days
  • Photo ID such as a state ID card or driver’s license
  • If you are a resident alien, a permanent resident card

You will be fingerprinted.

Step 3: You will be notified if your application has been approved.

For more information, 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.