Washington residents are permitted to possess a wide array of firearms. Pistols (revolver and semi-auto), rifles, assault rifles and shotguns are all permitted without a license. A license is only required to carry a concealed firearm. But possession of firearms in Washington is not without limits. State law specifically prohibits possessing:
It is Illegal to Possess.
Which is any firearm known as a machine gun, mechanical rifle, sub-machine gun, or any other mechanism or instrument not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir clip, disc, drum, belt, or other separable mechanical device for storing, carrying, or supplying ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism, or instrument, and fired therefrom at the rate of five or more shots per second.
Which is any shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun by any means of modification if such modified weapon has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.
Which is any rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle by any means of modification if such modified weapon has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.
HOWEVER, It is not unlawful for a person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, assemble, or repair, or have in possession or under control, a short-barreled rifle, or any part designed or intended solely and exclusively for use in a short-barreled rifle or in converting a weapon into a short-barreled rifle, if the person is in compliance with applicable federal law. See RCW 9.41.190.
Which is any butt stock designed to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm with the effect of increasing the rate of fire achievable with the semiautomatic firearm to that of a fully automatic firearm by using the energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate reciprocating action that facilitates repeated activation of the trigger.
Parts Associated with Illegal Firearms.
Any Parts Associated with Any of the Previous Illegal Firearms. All machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, or bump stocks or any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in a machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, short-barreled rifle, bump stock or in converting a weapon into a machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, short-barreled rifle, or bump stock illegally held or illegally possessed are hereby declared to be contraband, and it shall be the duty of all peace officers, and/or any officer or member of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Washington, to seize said machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, short-barreled rifle, or bump stock or parts thereof, wherever and whenever found.
It Is Also Illegal To:
Alterations / Modifications to Firearms.
You should be very careful never to change, alter or remove any of the original identification markings that your firearm came with. Removing the manufacturers name, serial number, or any other identifying mark is strictly prohibited by law.
Alter or Remove the Name of the Maker, Model or Identification Number. No person may change, alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer's number, or other mark of identification on any firearm. Possession of any firearm upon which any such mark shall have been changed, altered, removed, or obliterated, shall be prima facie evidence that the possessor has changed, altered, removed, or obliterated the same. This section shall not apply to replacement barrels in old firearms, which barrels are produced by current manufacturers and therefor do not have the markings on the barrels of the original manufacturers who are no longer in business. This section also shall not apply if the changes do not make the firearm illegal for the person to possess under state or federal law.
Where You Cannot Possess Firearms.
Washington law prohibits firearm possession in a wide array of places for many different reasons. But no matter what the reason, make no mistake, Washington law is not forgiving about taking firearms to any of the following prohibited places:
Elementary and Secondary Schools, both Public and Private. In fact, the list of schools that permit firearms on their campus, colleges included, is extremely small. It is best to assume that ALL educational facilities in Washington state, from Kindergarten through College, is likely a gun-free zone.
Courthouses. There is a reason most courthouses are equipped with medical detectors. Firearms and all weapons are prohibited in any portion of a court facility, the only exception being for law enforcement.
Office of Administrative Hearings. Similar to courthouses, any office in which the State of Washington is conducting administrative hearings, prohibits firearms.
Mental Health Institutions. All state operated and privately owned mental health hospitals, clinics and offices prohibit firearms.
Correctional Facilities. Jails, prisons, detention facilities and juvenile facilities, essentially any facility designed to house any sort of inmate, prohibits firearms possession.
Airports. Clearly once an individual passes TSA, all firearms possession is prohibited by Federal law. However, many airports prohibit firearm possession anywhere on the premise including all those areas outside the TSA secured portion of the airport.
In order to understand what weapons you can lawfully posses, you need to know the following:
Firearm means a weapon or device from which a projectile or projectiles may be fired by an explosive such as gunpowder. "Firearm" does not include a flare gun or other pyrotechnic visual distress signaling device, or a powder-actuated tool or other device designed solely to be used for construction purposes.
Gun has the same meaning as firearm.
Antique firearm means a firearm or replica of a firearm not designed or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898, including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
Barrel length means the distance from the bolt face of a closed action down the length of the axis of the bore to the crown of the muzzle, or in the case of a barrel with attachments to the end of any legal device permanently attached to the end of the muzzle.
Pistol means any firearm with a barrel less than sixteen inches in length, or is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.
Rifle means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
Shotgun means a weapon with one or more barrels, designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.
See RCW 9.41.010.
If you have any questions about what firearms you can possess, give us a call at: 425-785-0487.