In Washington, a person under age 18 may not own or possess a firearm, unless he or she is:

  • In attendance at a hunter’s safety course or a firearms safety course;
  • Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited;
  • Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm;
  • Participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group that uses firearms as a part of the performance;
  • Hunting or trapping under a valid license;
  • In an area where the discharge of a firearm is permitted, when the individual is not trespassing and is either:

At least 14 years of age, having been issued a hunter safety certificate, and using a lawful firearm other than a handgun; or
Under the supervision of a parent, guardian, or other adult approved for the purpose by the parent or guardian;

  • Traveling with an unloaded firearm to or from any activity described above;
  • On real property under the control of his or her parent, other relative, or legal guardian and has permission of the parent or legal guardian to possess a firearm;
  • At his or her residence and, with the permission of his or her parent or legal guardian, in possession of a firearm for the purpose of lawful self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property; or
  • A member of the armed forces of the United States, National Guard, or organized reserves, when on duty.1

Washington law provides that, unless one of the above exceptions applies,2 persons who are at least 18 years of age, but under age 21 may possess a handgun only:3

  • In the person’s “place of abode;”
  • At the person’s fixed place of business; or
  • On real property under his or her control.

In addition, an applicant for a concealed pistol license must be 21 years of age or older.4

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii), 9.41.042. ⤴︎
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.050 or 9.41.060 for additional exceptions. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.240. ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(1)(c). ⤴︎