Washington State carry laws

Washington State carry laws

This is a discussion on Washington State carry laws within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am looking for some help in finding carry laws for Washington State. I have read all of the relevant RCWs found at handgunlaw.us and ...

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Thread: Washington State carry laws

  1. #1
    Member Array be44321's Avatar
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    Washington State carry laws

    I am looking for some help in finding carry laws for Washington State. I have read all of the relevant RCWs found at handgunlaw.us and have read the NRA pamphlet as well as the pamphlet published by the state and still have some major concerns.

    Am I required to inform law enforcement? I have been told numerous times that I do not need to inform unless asked in Washington, but I would like to read the law for myself.

    I am also looking for laws about carrying on private property or national/state parks or forests in or out of my car.

    Do I have to inform my friend if I plan on carrying in his home? What about movie theaters which have "no weapons" signs?

    Also on an unrelated subject, I am wondering how everyone feels about consuming alcohol while carrying. If you are going out for dinner and carrying, do you abstain from alcohol altogether? Obviously being intoxicated and in control of firearms is unwise, but I'm just wondering what other people's personal standards are.


  2. #2
    Member Array rathos's Avatar
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    Washington Law does not require you to inform a police officer when you are carrying. But, if you want the officer to trust you I would recommend handing him your concealed permit with your license and informing him/her that you are carrying and that you want to know what you can do to make him/her feel more comfortable. At that point just do whatever they recommend which in my neck of the woods is generally not making any fast movements and keeping your hands visible.

    I am not sure what the law is on nation/state parks. For private property you have to obey whatever the homeowner wants. If they say no guns then its no guns, but you are not required to inform them you are carrying. I don't believe movie theaters can do anything except ask you to leave, but if they see your gun you aren't doing a very good job of concealing it.

    As far as consuming alcohol when armed, its a no go. Technically in Washington any place that serves alcohol is a no go. Plus if you did have to use your weapon after drinking and they find alcohol in your system you are going to get the book thrown at you. Its not worth the chance of losing your license and possibly a good shoot self defense case because you had a beer or two.
    ‘‘To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.’’

    — George Mason

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    good answers from Rathos....

    Quote Originally Posted by be44321 View Post
    Am I required to inform law enforcement?
    Nope, but it might be a good idea. The law is mute on the subject (i.e. the law does not require you to inform-that is why you can't find it)

    I am also looking for laws about carrying on private property
    It is not against the law. If someone asks you to leave (for any reason- gun included) and you refuse you would be trespassing.

    national/state parks or forests in or out of my car.
    Loaded guns in National Parks are a no-no based on Federal law (including your car). Unload your gun and put it in the trunk.

    I am not 100% sure on State Parks, but I have not seen anything making it illegal. There may be some hunting related laws to look into.

    Do I have to inform my friend if I plan on carrying in his home? What about movie theaters which have "no weapons" signs?
    Once again, private property. Not against the law, but they can force you to leave if they find out. Keep your mouth shut and do a good job concealing.

    consuming alcohol while carrying.
    Bad idea. Carrying is off limits in locations the State Liquor Board prohibits persons under 21. Carrying while intoxicated is also illegal (using the driving blood alcohol guidelines)


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    Member Array DarthMuffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by be44321 View Post
    Am I required to inform law enforcement? I have been told numerous times that I do not need to inform unless asked in Washington, but I would like to read the law for myself.
    No, you do not have to inform. No, you wont' find a law on this because there isn't one. In general laws are not written to say you "don't have to" do something, it's the opposite. In this case, since it doesn't say you have to, you don't have to.

    Try one of Dave Workman's books: Washington Gun Rights and Responsibilities

    I am also looking for laws about carrying on private property or national/state parks or forests in or out of my car.
    See Dave's book for some of these. Basically:

    Private property: carry all you want. If you are asked to leave (for this argument because they noticed your firearm, but this goes for any other reason too -- don't like your shirt, your hairdo, they're just being ornery...) and you do not, you can be charged with trespassing. If you leave promptly and quietly, then no harm, no foul. No Guns signs are meaningless in WA.

    National parks: no carry. Gun may be unloaded and locked in a box in the trunk or other inaccessible area of the car.

    State forests and parks: go for it! Some areas are no shooting, as in no target practice, etc., but carrying is fine. In fact, for a "legitimate outdoor activity" (like hiking perhaps) you don't even need a concealed permit to carry concealed in WA.

    National forests: OK, same as state parks/forests.

    National Monuments: not sure, but I don't think so. That being said I drive through one all the time armed, I just don't leave the highway.

    Wildlife refuge: There's some gray area here and it's not spelled out clearly one way or the other. The intent of the laws are to keep people from hunting there so if you've got a self defense type weapon and can convince them of that I would not have a problem carrying there. Don't pack a .454 Casull with a scope and keep it concealed :)

    Indian Res: You didn't ask, but worth mentioning since there are plenty in WA. For the most part no, not without permission from the tribal elders/council/chief. Driving through you are OK since the highways are state highways. If you get out of the car to go shopping or whatever, leave it behind.

    Do I have to inform my friend if I plan on carrying in his home? What about movie theaters which have "no weapons" signs?
    No, don't need to inform. See above about private property. Worst they can do is kick you out and ask you not to come back. You don't want to be in a place like that anyhow, right?

    I think a good friend would be polite and mention something they know the other would find offensive. Time to offer him/her a trip to the range with you ;)

    Also on an unrelated subject, I am wondering how everyone feels about consuming alcohol while carrying. If you are going out for dinner and carrying, do you abstain from alcohol altogether? Obviously being intoxicated and in control of firearms is unwise, but I'm just wondering what other people's personal standards are.
    I generally abstain, but have been known to have a (singular, one) beer. Not everyone can just have one, I can, no problem. Intoxication levels for carrying are the same as for driving. You can drink, but you can't be drunk. You of course know that you can't go into the over-21-only area of an establishment while carrying.

  5. #5
    Ex Member Array NavyLT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by be44321 View Post
    I am also looking for laws about carrying on private property or national/state parks or forests in or out of my car.

    Do I have to inform my friend if I plan on carrying in his home?
    Everybody has covered everything about your CCW questions. We are assuming you have a WA or WA recognized CPL. Open carry is also always an option in WA too, even without a CPL (but must be unloaded in your vehicle without a CPL). Also, even with a CPL, any loaded long gun in your vehicle is illegal.

    I would personally be offended if you entered my home and didn't inform me you were carrying because then I wouldn't have a chance to see what you had!

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    Member Array be44321's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for answering my questions! I picked up Dave Workman's book yesterday and am about half way through it.

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    Member Array Dieselnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by be44321 View Post
    Thanks to all for answering my questions! I picked up Dave Workman's book yesterday and am about half way through it.
    Where did you buy it?
    Don't ever underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

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    Senior Member Array psychophipps's Avatar
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    There is one exception to the "no carry in a national park" rule and that is during travel through a park along a state or national highway. I have to go through a national park if I head too far west or east from my local area and you can carry in your vehicle and at any privately-owned highway stops but don't get the urge to go hiking at all even if it's just a bit off the road.

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    Member Array be44321's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselnut View Post
    Where did you buy it?
    I picked it up at Wade's in Bellevue.

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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Just an FYI, when an Officer looks up the info from your drivers license he will find a notation that you have a Washington CPL. Some Officers may then ask if you have your gun, Had that happen to me.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    National park update! See this thread:

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...on-merged.html

    will take effect shortly (looks like Jan 09) so stay tuned.

    "WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty today announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized updated regulations governing the possession of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The update has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication "

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    Member Array lmbc2's Avatar
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    I too have a few questions about WA CPL. First, does anyone have a link or additional info on the law(s) regarding carrying on posted private property (e.g. stores or hospitals with no weapon signs)? Is it only trespass assuming that they ask you to leave and you refuse? Does anyone know what law covers this?

    Second, I know that carrying in areas designated as 21 and over by the state liquor control board is illegal. However, does anybody know if this includes WA state Liquor Stores? The reason I ask is because they do not seem to be designated 21 and over in the same way as bars/etc (e.g. they allow children inside with a parent or guardian).

    Third, does anyone know whether it is against state law to conceal carry on UW property including the University of Washington Medical center? There seems to be some debate as to whether it is against state law or only against school policy. I am not a student at the UW so I am not worried about school policy.
    I found this info about the rule: Chapter 478-120 WAC: Student conduct code for the university of washington
    Here is an article with some debate at the end about CCW on UW campus and whether it is against school policy or state law. UW students want to bring guns to school

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    Quote Originally Posted by lmbc2 View Post
    I too have a few questions about WA CPL. First, does anyone have a link or additional info on the law(s) regarding carrying on posted private property (e.g. stores or hospitals with no weapon signs)? Is it only trespass assuming that they ask you to leave and you refuse? Does anyone know what law covers this?
    Here is the RCW listing the carry laws.
    Chapter 9.41 RCW: Firearms and dangerous weapons
    RCW 9.41.290 says in part"The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state...Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300..."
    I have not seen anything addressed in the RCW regarding posted private property. Hence it is not illegal. However, if they ask you to leave and you don't, it would fall under trespass laws: RCW 9A.52.010: Definitions.
    Quote Originally Posted by lmbc2 View Post
    Second, I know that carrying in areas designated as 21 and
    over by the state liquor control board is illegal. However, does anybody know if this includes WA state Liquor Stores? The reason I ask is because they do not seem to be designated 21 and over in the same way as bars/etc (e.g. they allow children inside with a parent or guardian).
    Regarding liquor: RCW 9.41.300: Weapons prohibited in certain places ? Local laws and ordinances ? Exceptions ? Penalty. says in part:"(d) That portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under twenty-one years of age;", so if the store is not off limits, it would seem to be OK. I don't frequent them enough to recall if they are posted as such.
    Quote Originally Posted by lmbc2 View Post
    Third, does anyone know whether it is against state law to conceal carry on UW property including the University of Washington Medical center? There seems to be some debate as to whether it is against state law or only against school policy. I am not a student at the UW so I am not worried about school policy.
    I found this info about the rule: Chapter 478-120 WAC: Student conduct code for the university of washington
    Here is an article with some debate at the end about CCW on UW campus and whether it is against school policy or state law. UW students want to bring guns to school
    Here is the school quote:RCW 9.41.280: Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities ? Penalty ? Exceptions.
    "It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools: (a) Any firearm;"
    I haven't searched out the definition of "secondary school" as the university obviously wouldn't be elementary school.

    Hope this helps.
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

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    Member Array IssaquahWA19's Avatar
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    back to an earlier comment about open carry in WA state this seems to be a gray area in a lot of publications is Washington State in fact an open carry state and if so where can I find the rules to OC vs. my CC? One thing I have found about the laws is finding a definitive answer to many questions is often a bit of a chore to hunt down except the very basic ones.

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IssaquahWA19 View Post
    back to an earlier comment about open carry in WA state this seems to be a gray area in a lot of publications is Washington State in fact an open carry state and if so where can I find the rules to OC vs. my CC? One thing I have found about the laws is finding a definitive answer to many questions is often a bit of a chore to hunt down except the very basic ones.
    It is not against the law to open carry. That is why you can't find a law.

    This is the closest thing to a statutory answer to your question:

    RCW 9.41.270: Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm ? Unlawful carrying or handling ? Penalty ? Exceptions.

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, 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.

    (sic)
    There is also legal precedence that has been built up over a few decades since the firearms laws were last changed at the State level.

    Here's a recent SPD bulletin that is actually a good summary (essentially - in your hand: threatening, in a holster: legal)

    http://www.impsec.org/~jhardin/gunst...in_seattle.pdf

    I can't remember the case, but a fellow was convicted for open carrying an AK-47, and that is generally where the "in the hand" application of the law arises from.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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