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Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Washington State

Comments Off on Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Washington State

Like many states, Washington enforces strict laws on the sale and possession of firearms. Concealed weapons, or weapons that a person keeps hidden on his or her body or vehicle, are subject to particularly stringent rules. To legally carry a concealed weapon in Washington, applicants will need to meet a series of requirements and successfully obtain the correct license.

Washington Concealed Weapon Laws

According to RCW 9.41.050, any person who carries a concealed firearm must carry a concealed weapon license. The only exceptions to this rule are when a person carries a concealed firearm in his or her home or fixed place of business. If a person does have a license to carry a concealed weapon, he or she must keep the license in his or her immediate possession at all times. If a police officer demands to see the license, the license holder must supply it.

Additionally, a person cannot carry or place a loaded firearm in his or her vehicle unless he or she has a license and meets one of the following requirements.

  • The concealed firearm is on the license holder’s person.
  • The license holder is inside of the vehicle at all times that the weapon is also inside of the vehicle.
  • The license holder is away from the vehicle and the firearm is locked in a secure location inside of the vehicle. The license holder must conceal the weapon from view outside of the vehicle.

Any person who is in possession of an unloaded firearm cannot leave the weapon inside of his or her vehicle unless he or she stores it in a secure location and conceals it from public view.

Requirements for a Concealed Pistol License

To receive a concealed pistol license (CPL) in Washington, applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license or identification card. If an applicant is a permanent resident, he or she must bring his or her permanent resident card.

Applicants must undergo a background check and fingerprinting process if they want to obtain a CPL. If an applicant has any of the following information on his or her record, he or she is not eligible to obtain a CPL.

  • A revoked concealed pistol license
  • A felony conviction
  • An outstanding arrest warrant for a felony or misdemeanor
  • An order to forfeit a firearm within the last 12 months
  • A court order or injunction concerning firearm possession
  • Release on bond or personal recognition while awaiting trial, an appeal, or sentencing for a felony offense

Consequences for Breaking Washington Gun Laws

Failure to comply with Washington’s concealed weapon laws can result in a Class 1 civil infraction or a misdemeanor charge, depending on the circumstances surrounding the violation.

  • If the license holder does not carry his or her license on his or her person, he or she can face a Class 1 infraction citation. Penalties for this charge include a maximum fine of $250 and restitution, if applicable.
  • If the license holder violates any other provision under RCW 9.41.050, or if someone carries a concealed weapon without a CPL, he or she will face a misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

If you are facing concealed weapon charges in Washington, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can defend you against these charges and advocate for your side of the story, helping you work toward the best possible outcome.

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