Washington allows the use of firearms in different capacities, within its territory.

However, some locations are off-limits, and some firearm types are restricted in the state.

To open carry in Washington, you must be familiar with the gun law statute, especially those that mainly concern open carry.

Washington Gun Laws Summary

Washington issues concealed pistol licenses for the possession of firearms in the state.

The local sheriff’s office or state police department is in charge of this application, and the state has a shall-issue policy.

There are no purchase permits to buy firearms, but you must complete a mandatory criminal record background check.

Washington issues permit to both residents and non-residents in the state.

Is Open Carry Legal In Washington?

Yes. You can open carry in Washington if you are twenty-one years old or more, and you do not have any federal prohibition against making use of firearms.

Open Carry Laws In Washington?

Washington is a permissive open carry state, and you do not need a license to possess your firearms openly.

There are no ammunition restrictions, and the state does not prohibit the use of antique firearms and large capacity firearms.

Assault weapons are illegal in Washington, except for law enforcement officers and members of the military.

In rare cases where you have to purchase machine guns, you must have a firearm training certificate completed within five years.

Washington Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoNoYou do not need a license to open carry firearms in Washington.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoWashington does not have any requirement to register firearms for open carry in the state.
Assault weapon for open carry.YesNoThe state prohibits assault weapons like machine guns and semi-automatic firearms, except in rare cases.
Magazine limitNoNoThere are no firearm magazine limits in the state. Also, large-capacity ammunition is not prohibited.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredThere are no requirements to own a license for a firearm in the state.
Red flag lawYesYesWashington issues extreme risk protection orders after receiving a petition from a family member or law enforcement officer.
Castle doctrine lawNot definedNot definedWashington does not have a specific castle doctrine policy, but there is a no-duty-to-retreat policy in places where one has legal rights to be.
Background check for private dealersYesYesEvery dealer in the state, including private dealers, must complete a criminal record background check for a buyer before selling a firearm.
PreemptionYesYesThe state government reserves all right to regulate the use of firearms within its jurisdiction. However, local areas can control the discharge of firearms.
Concealed carry permit.NoYesYou can conceal carry with your Washington concealed firearm permit.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesYou can conceal carry in your vehicle as long as you are with your permit.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoWashington prohibits the open carry of firearms in schools, colleges, and universities, as well as their facilities.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Washington?

Open carry and possession of firearms are not illegal in the following parts of Washington:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry in the restaurant area as long as there is no signage prohibiting the possession of firearms.
  • Private vehicle: You can open carry a firearm in private cars.
  • Roadside areas: There is no state prohibition on possession of firearms or open carry in roadside areas.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry in forests and park areas, as well as wildlife management areas in Washington.
  • Places of worship: There is no prohibition for the possession of firearms in places of worship except the governing body of such a place does not permit it.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Washington?

Washington prohibits the open carry of firearms in the following parts or situations in the state:

  • Schools: It is illegal to open carry or possess firearms in schools’ premises, school buses, or any other transportation meant for students.
  • Correctional homes: It is unlawful to make use of firearms in correctional homes, prisons, and other types of detention facilities in the state.
  • Law enforcement offices: You cannot open carry in any state law enforcement office or property that they use for daily operations in any political subdivision of the state.
  • Courthouses: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any courthouse in the state or courtrooms while a sentence is ongoing.
  • Mental health hospitals: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any psychiatric hospital or mental home in Washington.
  • Off-limit areas: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any place that is illegal for people under the required age of twenty-one.
  • Airport zones: You cannot possess firearms or open carry in safety areas of an airport.
  • Children facility: You cannot open carry in any building in Washington used for children’s care.
  • Public events: You cannot open carry in public events, like music festivals.
  • Racetracks: You cannot open carry or possess firearms during racetrack events in the state.
  • Prohibited places: Open carry and possession of firearms are illegal in areas of the state prohibited by federal gun laws.

FAQs About Open Carry Washington

Some of the most frequently asked questions about the open carry of firearms in Washington include the following:

Do I Need A Permit To Open Carry Firearms In Washington?

No, Washington does not require a permit for you to open carry in the state.

Do I Need A Permit For Concealed Carry In Washington?

Yes, Washington issues a concealed firearm license to anybody that meets the requirements and wants to conceal carry in the state.

What Is The Age Limit For Open Carry In Washington?

To open carry firearms in Washington, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

What Is The Age Requirement For Concealed Carry In Washington?

The minimum age requirement for concealed carry in the state is twenty-one years old.

At What Age Can I Apply For Washington Firearm License?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for a firearm permit in Washington.

Does Washington Have A Red Flag Law?

Yes. Immediate family members or a law enforcement agent can petition a court of law to issue an extreme risk protection order against an individual’s possession and ability to buy firearms in the state.

Is Washington Concealed Firearm Permit Valid For Non-residents Of The State?

Yes. Non-residents can also apply for a firearm license as long as they meet all the requirements provided by Washington statutes.

However, unlike resident’s applications, non-residents cannot submit via mail. They must be physically present.

Also, Washington allows out of state permits from regions that meet their requirement on use and possession of firearms.

Is Washington A Constitutional Carry State?

No. Constitutional carry is not allowed in Washington.

Am I Permitted to Open Carry Knives And Other Weapons In Washington?

You can openly carry some type of knives and weapons in Washington as long as you do not have the intention of attacking someone or committing a crime with it.

The use of weapons like switchblades or types of spring-blade knives are illegal in the state.

Also, you cannot possess these weapons in school premises or while on school buses, in state court, jails, and other location restrictions for the use of firearms in the state.

Some local municipality areas have further regulations for the use of knives and other weapons within their boundaries.

Examples are Vancouver and Seattle that bans open and concealed carry of knives considered to be dangerous.

The law in these places defines such knives as ones that have blade lengths more than three and a half inches.

Does Washington Have Restrictions For Firearms Accepted In The State?

Yes. It is illegal to manufacture, possess or purchase machine gun firearms and semi-automatic weapons in Washington, except in some limited cases where the person has to show proof of firearm training before purchasing such weapons.

However, the state permits antique firearms, large-capacity guns, and there are restrictions on the type of ammunition you can use.

Do I Need A Permit To Open Carry Firearms In Washington?

No, Washington does not issue a purchase permit to buy handguns or any other type of firearms in the state.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In Washington?

Yes, you must complete a criminal record background check before you buy a firearm in Washington.

This is not limited to federally or state-licensed dealers. Private dealers are to run the check through licensed ones in the state.

Washington firearm permit does not exempt anyone from completing this check.

The only exception is the transfer of firearms between members of an immediate family.

When Will Washington Concealed Firearm Permit Expire?

The permit is valid for five years, after which you must apply for a new one.

Am I Under Any Obligation To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In Washington?

No, except if the officer asks you, you have no duty to inform him or her about your possession of firearms.

Is Washington A Castle Doctrine State?

Although the state does not have any specific castle doctrine policy, there is still no duty to retreat law in places where one has legal rights to be.

Can I Make Use Of Deadly Force During Self-defense In Washington?

Yes, you can make use of deadly force when you think that an attack might lead to injury, an imminent death, or a violent crime.

You can also use such force to defend your life or that of a family member during an attack in a dwelling place.

Is Firearm Training A Requirement For Concealed Firearm License In Washington?

No. You must only complete a firearm training in rare cases of automatic firearms purchase in Washington.

The training must be within at least five years to the time of purchase.

Is Registration Of Firearms After Purchase In Washington?

No, there are no requirements to register firearms upon purchase in the state.

Still, firearm dealers must keep a record of all sales and make them available to the local police office and department of licensing in Washington.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In Washington

Some of the gun statutes in Washington that has to do with open carry or similar gun possession include the following:

Preemption Gun Law

Washington has a preemption gun law policy in which the government owns all regulatory power for the use of firearms in the state.

However, local areas may:

  • Control the shooting of firearms within their boundaries in places where there is a possibility of jeopardy to properties, business, or human lives.
  • Regulate, restrict, or prohibit the use of firearms in places such as a stadium or an event center within the local area.

Also, employers have the right to control or prohibit an employee’s possession of a firearm in the workplace.

Brandishing Of Firearms

In Washington, it is a criminal offense to deliberately make use of a firearm in such a way that endangers another person’s life in a public place.

This means that it is illegal for anybody to possess, don, or point a firearm or any other similar weapon at another person in a place that threatens the safety of such person or causes apprehension.

Furthermore, It does not matter if the firearm is loaded or not.

A person can face prosecution for this except in situations of self-defense or legal use of firearms.

Red Flag Law

Washington has red flag law in the state that allows a family member or law enforcement officers to petition a person’s possession of firearms.

With this, the court will issue an extreme risk protection order to prohibit such person from the possession, purchase, and being a recipient of firearms, up until such order elapses.

Open Carry While Hunting

You can open carry while hunting in Washington if you have a hunting permit. However, possession of firearms while bow hunting does not mean that you can use it to take or wound an animal.

For bow hunting, you can only make use of archery equipment.

Washington, like most states in the USA, has hunter’s harassment laws to protect hunting operations.

  • Anybody that intentionally obstructs hunting or similar activities such as fishing or trapping is guilty of a violation of this law.
  • Nobody shall harass, pursue, or disturb wildlife, including fishes, to make it challenging to prevent a licensed hunting activity.
  • Nobody shall try to harass or scare a person who is legally obliged to hunt or take part in such similar activities in the state.

Additional Resources

Washington Gun Laws
Washington Concealed Carry Laws
Washington Gun Permit Laws

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