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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 ? 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 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(see RCW 9.41.060 on Exceptions). 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: 18 USC 922 (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.What is “Warranting alarm”, why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal to open carry? In 1969, RCW 9.41.270 was passed in light of the intimidating 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 are 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 (State vs. CasadState v. Spencer) generally makes such carry lawful.
Legal Disclaimer We make every effort to provide correct information on this site. However, the legal landscape surrounding open carry is fluid and subject to a myriad of political influences in the various states. Therefore, any and all information you glean from this site should be independently verified!
Forum To read real open carry stories from Washington or to contribute your own, click here
State Constitution Article I, Section 24The 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.
Minimum Age to OC You must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public.See RCW 9.41.060 for exceptions.
Preemption Complete State Preemption of All Firearm Laws RCW 9.41.290NOTE: Almost all states allow local regulation of the discharge of firearms
Open Car Carry  The right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion is not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound /Amtrak is not a municipal transit vehicle).  Busses, Trains & the Ferries are considered vehicles inWashington . You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in or on any vehicle if you possess a CPL RCW 9.41.050. See RCW 9.41.060 for exceptions.
Private Sales 18 years and older may purchase from private sellers  18 USC 922 (x) (Unlawful Acts)
Permit Issued You may complete an application form at one of the following law enforcement offices:- If you live in the unincorporated area of a county you must apply in person at your sheriff’s
– If you live in an incorporated city within the county, you may apply in person at either the city
police department or sheriff’s office.
– If you are not a Washington State resident, you may apply at any local law enforcement agency in
Washington .


Washington is a “Shall Issue” state for CPLs. Meaning as long as you are not a disqualified person you will be issued a license within 30 days(resident) and 90 days(non-resident) by law.

K-12 Carry RCW 9.41.280 – If you have a valid CPL and are picking up or dropping off a student you are allowed on the school grounds. Firearms are not permitted in school buildings.NOTE: The Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act Restricts Carry to Permit Holders
College Carry Colleges set their own policies, most of which seem to ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community Collegein Olympia is the only college in this state we know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus.
Places Off Limits RCW 9.41.300 Covers weapons prohibited in certain places 
State Law
Official Documents


State Organizations
Local Ordinances
Concealed Carry Available at Handgunlaw.us

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