Gun Laws in Washington

In a time of rising gun violence and multiple horrific instances of mass shootings, gun regulation and laws have become increasingly more important. While the debate rages on about whether people should be allowed to own guns in the first place, many people ignore the importance of gun laws and how strict implementation might resolve the problem.

There’s nothing wrong with owning a gun in and of itself, it’s the implementation of regulation that’s important—it’s a failure to follow through with regulation that allows for mass shootings in the first place.

One of the core principles of gun ownership is to ensure that others remain safe from your firearm. The firearm is to be kept holstered at all possible times and shouldn’t ever be removed from its holster until absolutely necessary. However, implementation of the law relies on thoroughly understanding the contents of the law and taking personal responsibility for abiding by these laws. Which is why, this article will discuss some salient gun laws in Washington.

Gun Ownership Laws in Washington


The state of Washington differentiates between handgun and long-guns, based on the length of the barrel. Handguns according to the definition are firearms that have a barrel length less than 16-inches, while long-guns (including rifles and shotguns) have barrels lengths more than 16-inches. You can own both handguns and long-guns in Washington. The state strictly prohibits ownership of the following guns:

  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled rifles
  • Short-barreled shotguns
  • Undetectable firearms—Firearms that are undetected by metal detectors and magnetometers.
  • Bump-fire stock

Ownership of any of these above mentioned firearms is classified as a Class C felony, which can get you up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Who Can Own Firearms in Washington?

The legislation is quite clear who cannot own firearms, the list includes:

  • All current or ex-convicts or people who are found not guilty by reason of insanity. The charges include:
    • 4thdegree assault
    • Coercion
    • Stalking
    • Reckless endangerment
    • Criminal trespass in the 1stdegree
    • Violation of restraining orders
  • People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility
  • Minors
  • If a person is out on bail

Anyone violating these rules is charged with a Class B or Class C felony depending on the circumstances.

Concealed Pistol License (CPL)

You can carry a pistol around in the open in Washington assuming that you don’t intend to threaten or harm someone with it. You cannot carry a concealed pistol in the state unless you have a Concealed Pistol License or if you’re at home or place of business.

These are just some of the relevant laws regarding firearm ownership in Washington. They allow you to carry guns, but strictly forbid any harm using these and any violation carries the strictest punishments throughout the entire USA.

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