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What Happens if You Get Caught with a Ghost Gun?

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Washington imposes several laws in regard to gun ownership. To legally possess a gun in the state, you must undergo a background check and fill out important forms, such as a Federal Firearm Transaction Record

However, some people attempt to circumvent these laws by building privately made or homemade firearms, known as “ghost guns”, which are undetectable in state and federal registration systems. If you are caught with a ghost gun in Washington, you could face severe penalties, including fines and jail time.

Ghost Gun Laws in Washington State

Ghost guns, or privately manufactured or homemade guns, are highly illegal in Washington state. According to RCW 9.41.325, no person may knowingly or recklessly allow, facilitate, or abet the manufacture or assembly of an undetectable firearm. Additionally, it is illegal to create or help someone obtain a ghost gun if any involved party is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law or has signed a voluntary waiver of firearm rights. 

There are certain exceptions to Washington’s unlawful firearms rule, but they are not common. According to RCW 9.41.190, the following people may carry an untraceable firearm. 

  • Peace officers who are performing their official duties or traveling to and from official duties
  • Members of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Washington, who are performing official duties or traveling on official business
  • Manufacturers of firearms and their employees, as long as they are producing certain types of firearms for lawful police, military, or export purposes

Penalties for Being Caught with a Ghost Gun in Washington

If you are caught with a ghost gun, you could face a gross misdemeanor charge. You could face up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine if you are convicted of this crime. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may need to undergo counseling for domestic violence, drugs, or alcohol. 

If you have been found guilty of building or assembling a ghost gun in the past, you could face a class C felony. Under Washington law, people who are convicted of a class C felony will spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine up to $10,000.

What to Do If You Are Arrested for a Homemade Firearm

Being caught with a ghost gun can result in serious, life-altering penalties. If you find yourself being arrested for creating or possessing an unlawful firearm, it is important to remain calm and comply with the officers’ instructions. Remember, you have the right to remain silent—do not answer any questions or offer explanations about the firearm until you speak with a lawyer.

As soon as possible following the arrest, ask to speak with a Washington criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can evaluate your case, help you understand the charges that you are facing, and advocate aggressively for your side of the story. He or she can also advise you on how to approach your case and speak with police officers and investigators.

Without a firearm attorney, you may find yourself struggling to navigate Washington’s criminal justice process. With a lawyer on your side, you can fight for the best possible outcome in your case. After your arrest, contact the Law Office Of Mark Treyz to discuss your legal options.


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