Washington Gun Laws

Washington Gun Laws

Concealed carry laws are a hot topic in the United States, with each state having its own regulations and reciprocity agreements. In this article, we will delve into Washington’s concealed carry laws, its reciprocity agreements with other states, where concealed carry is allowed, and other essential details you need to know.

Overview of Washington Gun Laws

Washington is a “Shall Issue” state, meaning that authorities must issue a concealed carry permit to an applicant who meets the legal requirements. While open carry is technically legal in the state, it’s not a common practice. To carry a handgun in a vehicle, a permit is required, and both residents and non-residents can obtain concealed carry permits at the local sheriff’s office.

Legal Requirements for Obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit

To obtain a concealed carry permit in Washington, an applicant must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old.
  2. Not have a felony conviction.
  3. No need to undergo a firearms training course.

Constitutional Carry and Open Carry

Washington is not considered a constitutional carry state, which means a permit is required to carry a concealed firearm. However, open carry is allowed for individuals who are 21 or older and legally allowed to own a firearm. Some off-limit areas for open carry include the state capital and within 250 feet of a public demonstration.

Concealed Carry in Vehicles

Washington allows concealed carrying on your person in a vehicle if you have a Washington CPL (concealed pistol license) or a permit from a reciprocal state. If you don’t have a permit, you must store your firearm in a secured container away from view and from any passengers within the vehicle.

Concealed Carry in State and National Parks

Washington permits concealed carry within its state and national parks as long as you have a CPL or a recognized permit from a reciprocal state.

Concealed Carry in Restaurants

Concealed carry is allowed within restaurants in Washington with a valid CPL, provided the establishment allows individuals under 21 to enter. However, concealed carry is not allowed within bars or the bar section of restaurants.

See also  Washington DC Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW)

No Weapon Sign Enforcement

Washington’s laws do not specifically address the enforcement of “No Weapons” signs, and there are no legal penalties for lawfully entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. The signs have no force of law unless they are posted in areas specifically mentioned by the law as off-limits.

Duty to Notify Officer

No law in Washington statutes explicitly requires individuals to inform law enforcement officers that they are carrying a firearm. However, if a law enforcement officer asks about the presence of a firearm, individuals must provide a truthful answer. Carriers must also have their concealed carry permit and a valid photo ID on them at all times while carrying a concealed firearm.

William Kirk Washington Gun Law:

  • William Kirk is a Republican state senator representing Washington’s 18th legislative district.
  • He was a primary sponsor of two recent gun rights bills – SB 5038 in 2018 and SB 5143 in 2019.
  • SB 5038 prohibited local governments in Washington from enacting firearms regulations that exceeded the state’s regulations.
  • SB 5143 limited the areas where firearms could be prohibited, such as excluding public parks and allowing firearms in places of worship.
  • Both bills passed the Republican-controlled state Senate but failed to pass the House.

New Washington State Gun Law:

  • In November 2021, Washington voters approved Initiative 1639 which implements several enhanced gun regulations.
  • I-1639 raises the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, requires 10-day waiting periods and enhanced background checks.
  • The initiative also mandates safe storage requirements, allows guns to be temporarily taken based on mental health concerns, and makes buyers liable for negligent storage if the gun is used to injure or kill.
Washington Gun Laws

Washington CCW Reciprocity List

Washington honors concealed carry permits from the following states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. Georgia
  6. Idaho
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Kansas
  10. Kentucky
  11. Louisiana
  12. Maine
  13. Michigan
  14. Mississippi
  15. Missouri
  16. Montana
  17. New Hampshire
  18. North Carolina
  19. North Dakota
  20. Ohio
  21. Oklahoma
  22. South Dakota
  23. Tennessee
  24. Texas
  25. Utah
  26. Vermont
  27. Virginia
  28. West Virginia
  29. Wisconsin
  30. Wyoming
See also  Washington Gun Permit

How Reciprocity Works in Washington

For Washington to honor another state’s concealed carry license, the other state must meet the following requirements:

  1. The other state honors a Washington concealed carry license.
  2. The other state does not issue concealed carry licenses to persons under the age of 21.
  3. The other state requires fingerprint-based checks for background and mental health history on applicants.

Currently, only nine states meet these requirements for their licenses to be honored by Washington.

Where Is CCW Allowed in Washington?

Places Allowed

  1. State parks
  2. State and national forests
  3. Roadside rest areas
  4. Vehicle
  5. All areas of the state, except those listed as Off-Limits

Places Not Allowed

On March 23, 2022, Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1630 into law, which restricts the possession of firearms in certain locations. Included are open and concealed carry at:

  1. School board meetings and polling places
  2. Local government meetings and election-related locations
  3. Public schools
  4. Correctional facilities
  5. Law enforcement facilities
  6. State courthouses
  7. Mental health facilities
  8. Outdoor music festivals
  9. Secured areas in airports

Additionally, there are places where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

Concealed Carry Laws in Washington

Open Carry

Open carry without a permit is legal in Washington, and the minimum age for open carry is 21.

Carry in Vehicle

Carrying a loaded firearm in any vehicle without a permit is illegal in Washington. However, individuals with a valid concealed pistol license can carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Carry in State Parks

It is legal to carry firearms in state parks, state/national forests, state wildlife management areas, and roadside rest areas.

Carry in Restaurants

Concealed carry is allowed in restaurants in Washington with restrictions. Individuals with a valid CPL are restricted to areas of the restaurant where persons under 21 are allowed.

Constitutional Carry

Washington does not have constitutional carry, which means a permit is required for concealed carry.

No Weapon Signs Enforced

Washington’s gun laws do not mention the enforcement of “No Weapons” signs.

See also  Washington Hunting

Duty to Notify Officer

Washington gun laws do not require individuals to inform law enforcement officers of their concealed carry status unless asked explicitly.


Washington’s concealed carry laws are designed to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. Obtaining a concealed carry permit is relatively straightforward for those who meet the legal requirements.

However, it’s essential to be aware of off-limit areas and restrictions to avoid legal complications. Remember, responsible gun ownership is crucial in maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone.


Q1. Do I need a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Washington?

Yes, Washington requires a concealed pistol license (CPL) to carry a concealed firearm.

Q2. Can I open carry in Washington without a permit?

Yes, open carry is legal in Washington for individuals who are 21 or older and legally allowed to own a firearm.

Q3. Does Washington have constitutional carry?

No, Washington is not a constitutional carry state, so a permit is required for concealed carry.

Q4. Are there places where concealed carry is prohibited in Washington?

Yes, there are places where concealed carry is prohibited, such as schools, correctional facilities, and mental health facilities.

Q5. How does reciprocity work in Washington for concealed carry licenses from other states?

Washington honors concealed carry licenses from states that meet specific requirements, including honoring a Washington CPL and having fingerprint-based checks for background and mental health history on applicants.

Q6. what are the gun laws in Washington DC

Washington D.C. has strict local and federal gun laws compared to most jurisdictions. Handguns must be registered and permitted. Long guns only need registration. Semi-auto rifles, assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and silencers are prohibited. Open and concealed carry requires a rare permit. Guns at home must be stored unloaded and locked. Ammunition possession is restricted. D.C. does not recognize other states’ concealed carry permits.

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