Here is some FAQ about washington states OC laws.
1) Where can I carry in Washington?
Washington State follows british legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful. So the real question is where can you NOT carry in Washington.
1.There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of: RCW 9.41.050 (Carrying Firearms), RCW 9.41.280 (Carry on School Grounds), RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places), and RCW 70.108.150 (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals). It is your responsibility to read and understand the definitions and exceptions in the law.
RCW 9.41.050 is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL. Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers).
Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license.
There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of:
18USC922(q), which prohibit the carrying of a handgun within 1000 feet of a school unless you are licensed to carry or meet another exemption to this law. The constitutionality of this law is questionable in light of United States v. Lopez and District of Columbia v. Heller. To our knowledge, there has been no prosecutions of this law where this is the sole charge.
18USC930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility".
Because of the possible myriad legal issues that may arise, in terms of the possible accusation of concealment, carrying in one's car, as well as 18USC922(q), it is highly recommended that any person who open carries in the State of Washington acquire a CPL.
2) How do I acquire a CPL?
If you are a resident of Washington, it depends on whether or not you live in a city. If you live in an incorporated city, you can apply either to your city police department, or your county sheriff. If you live in unincorporated territory, you must apply to the sheriff only. They have 30 days to issue or deny a license.
If you are NOT a resident of Washington State, you may apply to any jurisdiction that you choose.
If you do not possess a Washington Drivers License, Washington State ID, or have proof that you've been a resident of Washington for at least 90 days (such as a utility bill), the issuer may take up to 60 days to issue.
The license cost is currently $36 dollars plus the FBI fingerprint check fee (currently $19.25), which adds up to $55.25. A Washington State CPL is valid for 5 years. Renewing the license costs $32, and a late renewal (within 90 days of expiration) is $42. If a renewal is more than 90 days late, it must be filed as a new application.
We understand that there is some substantial compliance issues with the police departments (though not any sheriffs that we've heard of) in accepting applications during normal business hours. This is unlawful, however this has not been challenged. We do not know of any sheriffs office that is currently restricting the application times for CPL's, and we recommend going to the Sheriff's office if you have any issues with your police department.
If you are a non-citizen of the United States (such as a permanent resident alien), you must have an Alien Firearms License to apply for a CPL. An AFL is required to even possess a firearm in Washington, however these are not currently issued by the Department of Licensing due to a background check issue with the FBI. This law is likely unconstitutional, and should be challenged.
Washington also has a reciprocity law for non-residents of the state. For an updated list, please refer to:
Of the states listed, the State of Utah is the only state which issues entirely by mail. Please go to Utah BCI at:
SOURCE: RCW 9.41.070, RCW 9.41.073
3) What is "Warranting alarm", why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal to open carry?
This law, codified in 1969 as RCW 9.41.270, was passed in light of the intimidative actions of the Black Panther Party in both the State of California and in Seattle. Analysis of the legislative intent behind the bill and final law indicated that the Washington State Legislature never intended this to be a gun control bill, and stripped out in committee provisions of the bill which would have prohibited carry within 500 feet of any "public building" for fear it would ensnare a peaceable open carrier walking nearby, thereby violating a persons rights under Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.
This is not to say that all forms of open carry is lawful. The key word is "peaceable". If your pistol is in a holster, and you're generally not touching it or making gripping movements (except of course, in an actual act of self defense), or opening a coat to expose your pistol to intimidate someone to do something, then the current body of case law generally makes such carry lawful.
4) Is there a gun ban in Seattle?
Despite Mayor Greg Nickels' blustering and media blitz on the issue, there is no "gun ban" in Seattle currently in effect. The nature of the "gun ban" is the use of trespass law, which Seattle city officials, as the "owner of the property" would demand that a gun owner leave and be trespassed, and if they refuse to leave, charge them with armed trespass. Though there is the draftings of an administrative rule currently being made (as stated by a recent article in the Seattle Times), Mayor Nickels has NOT signed on to any administrative rule. It is well assumed that if any administrative rule is signed to that affect, it will trigger legal action, but not a moment before.
5) What does Article 1, Section 24 of the State Constitution actually say? SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.
6) Is there a list of businesses that are pro/anti gun/OC?
Yes, it is located here http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum55/3630.html
7) Can I carry on a bus?
You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in any bus or light rail vehicle if you possess a CPL. The law states that you must have a CPL to carry loaded in "any" vehicle. RCW 9.91.025 (Unlawful bus conduct) protects the right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound is not a municipal transit vehicle).
Can I carry a loaded long arm in my vehicle?
As a general rule, no. See RCW 77.15.460.
9) Do I have to register my gun?
Washington State has no registry at all for long arms. It does, however, have a dealer pistol sales registry. However, there is no requirement that secondary sales of pistols be registered with the Department of Licensing. You cannot sell the firearm to anyone you know is ineligible under state or federal law, nor can you transfer a firearm (whether by a sale or a gift) to a person who is a resident of another state (this violates federal law).
10) Where can I see a list of all available training bulletins from law enforcement agencies?
11) How old do you have to be to carry a loaded handgun?
Under RCW 9.41.240, you must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public.
12) Do I have to use a certain type of holster?
The law does not demand certain types of holsters. We do however recommend that your holster choice have some form of retention, and we recommend that if you use a shoulder holster, that you use a vertical position one rather than a horizontal one (per firearms safety rules).
13) Can I carry with a round in the chamber?
There is no Washington or Federal law which prescribes carrying with a round in the chamber other than the normal "loaded" definition and the laws that regulate loaded carry. In other words, yes you can carry with a round in the chamber if you choose to.
14) Can I carry at or near a school?
See Question #1 which as a general rule lists where a person can and cannot carry. The short answer is if you have a valid CPL and are picking up and dropping off a student you can carry on the grounds of grade schools.
15) What about colleges?
There is no law against it, but the individual schools set their own policies, most of which seem to conflict with a stated desire to honor all constitutional rights of the students while then going on to ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia is the only college in this state I know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus.
15) Can I carry in a bar?
No. You cannot carry in a place where alcohol is consumed AND is off limits to persons under 21.
16) Does Washington have an assault weapons ban.
No. With the sunset in 2004 of the Clinton ban the ban no longer exists. Some states have adopted similar bans, but not Washington.
17) But someone told me folding stocks and high capacity mags are for cops only.
NO! NO! NO! They were wrong. There IS NO ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN IN WASHINGTON.
18) I saw a sign in a city park saying no firearms. Is that legal?
No. Washington State has preempted all firearms laws regarding possession. If you see such a sign, it is illegal and overridden by state law. Period. End of discussion.
19) Can I carry in a bank?
There is no law prohibiting carry in a bank. Like any private property the bank may impose their own rules. It is up to you to find out if your bank allows lawfully carried firearms.
20) With the Federal Government buying parts of banks does that make them Federal property and off limits to carry?
No. They own shares of the bank, and are merely another shareholder, and cannot make the bank property function as Federal property.
21) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when?
The law is somewhat vague, and the wording even worse, but essentially if you are required to have a CPL in your posession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though. Essentially I would produce to people such as cops or transit operators if the CPL is required by them to verify my legal status to carry the gun.
22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement onboard the Washington State Ferry System.