Ammunition Regulation in Washington

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Licensing of Ammunition Sellers

No firearms dealer may sell or otherwise transfer, or expose for sale or transfer, or have in his or her possession with intent to sell or otherwise transfer, any ammunition without being licensed by the State of Washington.1 See the Washington Dealer Regulations section for further information.

Safe Storage of Ammunition

Small arms ammunition must be stored separated from flammable liquids, flammable solids and oxidizing materials by a fire-resistant wall “of one-hour rating” or by a distance of 25 feet.2

State administrative regulations govern the storage of ammunition in family home child care facilities.3 State administrative regulations may regulate other aspects of ammunition.

Washington does not:

  • Prohibit individuals ineligible to possess firearms under state law from possessing ammunition;
  • Require a license for the possession of ammunition; or
  • Require a license to sell ammunition, unless the seller is operating as a dealer.
Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(3). ⤴︎
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.74.330; Wash. Admin. Code 296-52-71025. “Small arms ammunition” is defined to include any shotgun, rifle, pistol or revolver cartridge, and cartridges for propellant-actuated power devices and industrial guns. Military-type ammunition containing explosive bursting charges, incendiary, tracer, spotting, or pyrotechnic projectiles is excluded from this definition. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.74.010(28). ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Admin. Code 170-296-0800. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Washington

In 2018, voters approved a ballot initiative (effective July 1, 2019) that imposes sale and possession restrictions on ‘semiautomatic assault rifles’, defined as “ any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.” This definition encompasses effectively all semiautomatic rifles.1

These restrictions include:

  • Raising the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 212
  • Creating a 10 day waiting period for all purchases and transfers of semiautomatic rifles3
  • Requiring prospective purchasers to provide proof of having taken safety training which includes information on:
    • Basic firearms safety rules
    • Firearms and children, including secure gun storage and talking to children about gun safety
    • Firearms and suicide prevention
    • Secure gun storage to prevent unauthorized access and use
    • Safe handling of firearms
    • State and federal firearms laws, including prohibited firearms transfers4

The measure also imposes restrictions on where individuals between 18 and 21 can possess semiautomatic rifles. With some exceptions, these individuals can carry only:

  • In the person’s home
  • At the person’s fixed place of business
  • On real property under the person’s control
  • Outside these areas, provided that the gun is unloaded and is either in secure storage or secured with a trigger lock for the specific purpose of:
    • Moving to a new home
    • Traveling between the person’s home and real property under his or her control
    • Selling or transferring the firearm.5

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Washington Proposition 1639. ⤴︎
  2. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.240(1). ⤴︎
  3. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.092. ⤴︎
  4. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.090(2). ⤴︎
  5. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.240(3). ⤴︎

Background Checks in Washington

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Washington is a partial point of contact state for the NICS.1 In Washington, local law enforcement departments serve as state points of contact for implementation of the Brady Act for all dealer deliveries of handguns. In 2018, voters approved a measure that extends this requirement to transfers of semiautomatic rifles.2

Licensed dealers must conduct background checks on prospective purchasers each time a dealer transfers a firearm.3 Washington requires firearms dealers to use NICS, the Washington State Patrol electronic database, the Department of Social and Health Services’ electronic database, and other agencies or resources as appropriate when processing firearm transactions.4

In 2014, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a universal background checks law by voter initiative.5 The law requires all private sales of firearms to be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer who will conduct a background check on the private buyer. Washington also requires law enforcement to run a background check before returning a confiscated firearm.6

In 2017, Washington enacted a law requiring dealers to report individuals who fail a background check while attempting to purchase a firearm to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. The dealer must report the denial within 5 days. The Association must also establish a grant program for local law enforcement agencies to conduct criminal investigations regarding persons who illegally attempted to purchase or transfer a firearm within their jurisdiction.7

The law enacted in 2017 also requires the Association to create an automated protected person notification system allowing a person to register to receive notification if an individual subject to a domestic violence order attempts to purchase a firearm.8

See the Washington Private Sales section and our Private Sales policy summary. See also the Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Washington section.

 

 

Notes
  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Aug. 31, 2015). ⤴︎
  2. Washington Proposition 1639, effective July 1, 2019. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(2)(b). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(2)(b). ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.010 ⤴︎
  6. 2015 WA S.B. 5381, Sect. 2(1). ⤴︎
  7. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.___ (added by 2017 c 261 § 1). ⤴︎
  8. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 36.28A.___ (added by 2017 c 261 § 5). ⤴︎

Child Access Prevention in Washington

In 2018, voters approved a ballot initiative that imposes criminal liability against a person who stores an unlocked firearm in a place where he or she knows or should know that a person who is ineligible to possess firearms may gain access to it if the person does gain access and uses the firearm (effective July 1, 2019). The penalty imposed is significantly greater if someone dies or suffers great bodily injury as a result of the prohibited person gaining access to the firearm.1

These laws do not apply if any of the following is true:

  • The firearm was kept in a locked container or secured with a trigger lock
  • The firearm is used with the parent’s permission, and with adult supervision
  • The prohibited person obtains and uses the firearm in lawful self-defense
  • The firearm was obtained as a result of unlawful entry and theft, and the theft is reported within 5 days of when the owner should have known that the firearm had been taken

The initiative also requires licensed dealers to offer to sell or provide a gun safe or lock with every firearm transfer and to post a warning that criminal liability may result in storing a firearm unlocked.2

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Washington Proposition 1639. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Washington

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Washington is a “shall-issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a concealed weapons license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Local law enforcement shall issue a “concealed pistol license” to any applicant, unless he or she:1

  • Is under 21 years of age;
  • Is subject to a court order or injunction regarding firearms pursuant to specific provisions of the Revised Code of Washington;2
  • Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony;
  • Has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest for a felony or misdemeanor;
  • Has been ordered to forfeit a firearm by a Washington court within the last year; or
  • Has had a concealed pistol license revoked.

A person may apply for a concealed pistol license to the municipality or county in which the applicant resides if the applicant resides in a municipality, or to the county in which the applicant resides if the applicant resides in an unincorporated area.3 A nonresident may apply anywhere in the state.4

The issuing authority shall conduct a check of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the Washington state patrol electronic database, the state Department of Social and Health Services electronic database, and with other agencies or resources as appropriate, to determine whether the applicant is ineligible to possess a firearm, and thus ineligible for a concealed pistol license.5

The chief of police of the municipality or the sheriff of the county where an applicant resides may issue a temporary emergency license for good cause, pending review of an applicant’s background for a concealed pistol license.6 A temporary emergency license, however, does not exempt the holder from any records check requirements, and temporary emergency licenses are easily distinguishable from regular licenses.7

Washington prohibits the carrying of a concealed handgun without a license except in a person’s abode or fixed place of business.8 Notwithstanding this general prohibition, state law provides exceptions for:

  • Law enforcement officers of Washington or “another state;”
  • Military personnel when on duty;
  • Employees or officers of the United States authorized to carry a concealed handgun;
  • Anyone in the business of manufacturing, repairing or dealing in firearms, or his or her agent, if possessing, using, or carrying a handgun in the usual or ordinary course of business;
  • Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive handguns from the U.S. or the State of Washington;
  • Regularly enrolled members of target shooting clubs when those members are going to, or coming from, target practice;
  • Regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for the purpose of antique or modern firearm collecting when those members are going to, or coming from, gun shows and exhibits;
  • Any person legitimately engaged in a lawful outdoor recreational activity, such as hunting, fishing, or camping;
  • Any person carrying an unloaded handgun in a closed opaque case or “secure wrapper;” or
  • Retired or disabled law enforcement officers, provided that the disability was not because of mental or stress-related disabilities.9

See the Other Location Restrictions in Washington section for places restricting gun possession by concealed pistol license holders.

Firearm Safety Training

Washington does not require an applicant for a concealed pistol license to undergo firearm safety training or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety.

Duration & Renewal

A concealed pistol license is valid for five years from the date of issue.10 A licensee may renew a license by application within 90 days before or after the expiration date of the license.11

Disclosure or Use of Information

A copy of each license and application is delivered to the Washington Department of Licensing, which must make this information available to law enforcement and state and local corrections agencies, in an on-line format.12

The Department of Licensing generally may keep records of applications for concealed pistol licenses.13

Reciprocity

A person licensed to carry a handgun in a state having laws that recognize Washington concealed pistol licenses is authorized to carry a concealed handgun in Washington if: 1) the licensing state does not issue concealed pistol licenses to persons under twenty-one years of age; and 2) the licensing state requires mandatory fingerprint-based background checks of criminal and mental health history for all persons applying for a concealed pistol license.14 These provisions apply only to license holders who are not Washington residents.15

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(1). ⤴︎
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(1)(d). ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(13). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(2). ⤴︎
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(10). ⤴︎
  7. Id. Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension, revocation, or other disqualification information, are detailed under Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.070 and 9.41.075. ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.050. ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.060. ⤴︎
  10. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(1). ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(9). ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(4). ⤴︎
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.129. Such records shall not be disclosed except as provided in Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.56.240(4), which provides that concealed pistol license applications are exempt from the public disclosure requirements under Washington law. Copies of concealed pistol license applications or information on the applications may be released to law enforcement or corrections agencies. Id. ⤴︎
  14. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.073. ⤴︎
  15. Id. ⤴︎

Dealer Regulations in Washington

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

No firearms dealer may transfer, expose for transfer, or have in his or her possession with intent to transfer, any firearm or ammunition without being licensed by the State of Washington.1 Licenses are granted by the appropriate local or state licensing authority, and no person may qualify for a license without first receiving a federal firearms license and undergoing fingerprinting and a background check.2 In addition, if a person is ineligible to possess a firearm or obtain a concealed pistol license, he or she cannot qualify for a dealer’s license.3 (See the Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally and Washington Concealed Weapons Permitting sections for further information on those topics.) For laws requiring firearm dealers to conduct background checks on prospective purchasers, see the section entitled Background Checks in Washington.

No dealer may deliver a handgun to a prospective purchaser until:

  • The purchaser produces a valid concealed pistol license, and the dealer has recorded the purchaser’s name, license number, and issuing agency;
  • The dealer is notified in writing by the chief of police or sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the purchaser resides that the purchaser is eligible to possess a handgun, and that the application is approved by the chief of police or sheriff; or
  • 10 business days have elapsed since the application for purchase was received by local law enforcement.4

A voter initiative passed in 2018 now also generally prohibits dealers from delivering a ‘semiautomatic assault rifle’ to a prospective purchaser until:

  • The purchaser provides proof that he or she has completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the last five years and one of the following occurs:
    • The dealer is notified in writing by the chief of police or sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the purchaser resides or the state that the purchaser is eligible to possess a firearm, and that the application is approved;
    • 10 days have passed since the purchase or background check was initiated.5

Where local law enforcement discovers open criminal charges, pending criminal or commitment proceedings, or an arrest or other outstanding warrant for an offense making a person ineligible to possess a firearm, sale and delivery of a handgun (or ‘semiautomatic assault rifle’ effective July 1, 2019) may be delayed for up to 30 days in order to confirm existing records in Washington or elsewhere.6

No handgun may be sold under any circumstances unless the purchaser is personally known to the dealer or presents clear evidence of his or her identity.7 In addition, no person may deliver a firearm to anyone whom he or she has reasonable cause to believe is ineligible to possess a firearm.8

A dealer must require that every employee who may sell a firearm in the course of his or her employment undergo fingerprinting and a background check.9 An employee also must be eligible to possess a firearm, and must not have been convicted of a crime that would make him or her ineligible for a concealed pistol license before being permitted to sell a firearm. All employees must comply with state requirements concerning purchase applications and restrictions on the delivery of handguns that are applicable to dealers.10

Licensed dealers must also keep a record of every handgun sold in a book kept for that purpose.11 Dealers are also required to keep detailed forms in triplicate of each handgun sold.12 See the Washington Retention of Sales / Background Check Records for more detail.

A dealer may conduct business only in the building designated in his or her license, although the dealer may temporarily conduct business at a gun show sponsored by a national, state or local organization or an affiliate thereof, devoted to the collection, competitive use, or other sporting use of firearms in the community.13

The fee for a license to sell handguns, long guns, or ammunition is $125.14 Dealer licenses are valid for one year.15

For laws applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, including special provisions for pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers, please see the Washington Private Sales section.

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(1)-(3). ⤴︎
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(4), (5)(a). ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(5)(a). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(1). ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(2). ⤴︎
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(4). This statute moves to subsection (5) beginning July 1, 2019. After 30 days, the sale or delivery may proceed unless an extension is approved by a local district court or municipal court after a showing of good cause. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(8)(a)(ii). ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.080. A violation of this prohibition is a class C felony, and any firearms dealer violating this prohibition is subject to mandatory permanent revocation of and permanent ineligibility for his or her dealer’s license. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.080, 9.41.110(8)(b). ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(5)(b). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(a). ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(a), (b). ⤴︎
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(6). ⤴︎
  14. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(8)(c). ⤴︎
  15. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(4). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Washington

Extreme Risk Protection Order

In 2016, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved of a law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family members– to petition a court to remove guns from a loved one in crisis.1 The law, called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), allows family members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement.2 Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Other Alternatives for Disarming

Washington also enables courts to disarm dangerous individuals in other ways. State superior courts and courts of limited jurisdiction may order forfeiture of a firearm proven to be:

  • Found concealed on a person not authorized to carry a concealed pistol;
  • Commercially sold to any person without an application as required by state law;
  • In the possession of a person prohibited from possessing the firearm under state law;
    • In 2018, voters approved a measure that requires the department of licensing to verify annually that people who have acquired pistols or ‘semiautomatic assault rifles’ remain eligible to possess them, and to take steps to ensure anyone found ineligible does not remain in possession of firearms.3
  • In the possession or under the control of a person at the time he or she committed or was arrested for committing a felony or committing a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person who is in any place in which a concealed pistol license is required, and who is under the influence of any drug or intoxicating liquor;
  • In the possession of a person free on bail or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony or for a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person found to have been mentally incompetent while possessing the gun when apprehended or who is thereafter committed under state law;
  • Used or displayed by a person in the violation of a proper written order of a court of general jurisdiction; or
  • Used in the commission of a felony or of a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed.4

Law enforcement officers of the state or of any county or municipality may confiscate a firearm found to be in the possession of a person under any of the circumstances specified above.5

Surrendered Firearms

Any confiscated firearm may be surrendered only: 1) to the prosecuting attorney for use in subsequent legal proceedings; 2) for disposition according to an order of a court having jurisdiction; or 3) to the owner if the proceedings are dismissed or the court otherwise directs.

In 2015, Washington enacted a law requiring that a law enforcement agency must, before returning a confiscated firearm:

(a) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is the individual from whom the firearm was obtained or an authorized representative of that person;

(b) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is eligible to possess a firearm;

(c) Ensure that the firearm is not otherwise required to be held in custody or otherwise prohibited from being released; and

(d) Ensure that twenty-four hours have elapsed from the time the firearm was obtained by law enforcement.6

This law also provides that a family or household member may request to be notified when a law enforcement agency returns a privately owned firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or to an authorized representative of that person.7 This notification may be made via telephone, email, text message, or another method that allows notification to be provided without unnecessary delay.8 If a family or household member has requested to be notified, a law enforcement agency must:

(a) Provide notice to the family or household member within one business day of verifying that the individual from whom the firearm was obtained is eligible to possess and receive the firearm; and

(b) Hold the firearm in custody for seventy-two hours from the time notification has been provided.9

Once these requirements have been met, the law enforcement agency must release the firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or an authorized representative of that person upon request without unnecessary delay.10

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in Washington. See also the Mental Health Reporting in Washington section for additional court notices restricting the possession of a firearm.

Notes
  1. Rev. Code Wash. § 7.94.030 ⤴︎
  2. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 7.94.090. ⤴︎
  3. Washington Proposition 1639, effective July 1, 2019. ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(1). ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(4). ⤴︎
  6. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(1). ⤴︎
  7. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 1. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(3). ⤴︎
  10. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(2). ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Washington

Washington has no law authorizing or requiring the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants in Washington

Washington prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another on or after July 1, 1993:

  • Assault in the fourth degree;
  • Coercion;
  • Stalking;
  • Reckless endangerment;
  • Criminal trespass in the first degree; or
  • Violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.1

Washington also prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of harassment when committed by one family or household member against another on or after June 7, 2018.2

Washington defines “family or household members” as:

  • Spouses, former spouses;
  • Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;
  • Adult persons related by blood or marriage;
  • Adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
  • Persons age 16 or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship;
  • Persons age 16 or older with whom a person age 16 or older has or has had a dating relationship; and
  • Persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.3

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders and Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

Washington enacted a law in 2014 that mirrors federal law by prohibiting gun possession by anyone subject to a protective order.4 The protective order must have been  issued after a noticed hearing and it must restrain the person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner (or child of the partner or restrained person) and the person must represent a credible threat to the safety of the intimate partner or child.5 An “intimate partner” is defined in Washington as a current or former spouse or domestic partner; a person with whom the restrained person has a child; or a current or former dating partner with whom the restrained person lives or has lived.6

The 2014 law also requires the court issuing the protective order to prohibit the restrained individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or a concealed carry license and require the restrained person to surrender any firearms or concealed carry licenses in his or her possession.7 The individual must file a proof of surrender with the court.8

An older provision of Washington law provides that, if a protective or restraining order states that the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by any party presents a serious and imminent threat to public health or safety or the health or safety of any individual, the court may:

  • Require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon;
  • Require the party to surrender any concealed pistol license issued by the State of Washington;
  • Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
  • Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a concealed pistol license.9

The court may also make such an order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the party used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a felony or committed any offense that renders him or her ineligible to possess a firearm.10 If the court makes this finding upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence, then it is required to make such an order.11

The court may order the temporary surrender of a firearm or other dangerous weapon without notice to the other party if it finds that irreparable injury could result if an order is not issued until the time for a response has elapsed.12 These requirements may be for a period of time less than the duration of the order.13 The court may require the party to surrender any firearm or dangerous weapon in his or her immediate possession or control or subject to his or her immediate possession or control to local law enforcement, his or her counsel, or to any person designated by the court.14 These provisions apply to:15

Domestic violence protective orders are available to family and household members as defined above, plus domestic partners and former domestic partners.16

In 2017, Washington enacted a law requiring the Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to create an automated protected person notification system allowing a person to register to receive notification if an individual subject to a domestic violence order attempts to purchase a firearm.17

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Washington Background Checks and Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a)(i). ⤴︎
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a)(ii). ⤴︎
  3. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.010(5) and 10.99.020(3). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.804. ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(5). ⤴︎
  10. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(2). ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(4). ⤴︎
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(6). ⤴︎
  14. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(7). ⤴︎
  15. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). ⤴︎
  16. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 26.50.010(1), (2), 26.50.060. ⤴︎
  17. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 36.28A.___ (added by 2017 c 261 § 5). ⤴︎