December 24, 2019 4 min read

If you live in Washington state, you likely want to read up on gun laws before you purchase a firearm. While the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution gives Americans the right to own firearms, each state establishes their own rules and guidelines for what you need in order to obtain a gun legally, and where you can carry it. With that said, here is a rundown of Washington's gun laws and how they affect your ability to purchase.

Can I Buy A Gun In Washington?

Like every state, there are barriers that are set in place that prohibit just anybody from purchasing and owning a firearm. Before you purchase a gun, you first must come of age if you have not already, and have a clean criminal record. In order to obtain a rifle or other form of long gun, you will need to provide proof that you have completed a certified gun safety training program in the past five years. This is not a requirement in order to obtain a handgun, but we recommend it regardless of what kind of gun you want to own.

How To Legally Obtain A CPL (Concealed Pistol License)

Washington's concealed carry handgun license is known as a CPL. This license essentially makes it legal for you to be in the possession of a gun in a public area so long as it is concealed. It is the simplest firearm license to obtain. As the name implies, the CPL allows an individual to own handguns and have one concealed to the public. It does not permit an individual to open carry.

The requirement to obtaining this handgun license are as follows:

  • You must be age 21 or up.
  • You have no criminal history.
  • You have not been ordered to have a previously-owned gun confiscated in the past year.
  • You have not had a revoked handgun license in the past.
  • You have no psychological conditions.

Basically, if you are an adult, maintain normal behavior, and you are free or absolved of any wrongdoing by law enforcement, you shouldn't expect trouble while buying or registering to own a gun. Depending on where you live in Washington, you are to register for a gun license at the police department located in your area. If you live in another state, you can apply for a gun license in any of Washington's police departments. A fee of $36 is also required to obtain a CPL, and a fee of $32 must be paid every 5 years for renewal. Upon submitting an application for a CPL, it will take 60 days to have it available to you. If you apply with a driver's license, it will only take 30 days.

Each time you buy a gun from a licensed gun retailer, that retailer must report your purchase(s) to the local authorities. They will not reprimand or contact you, they will just have information on you and your purchased goods in the event that your gun is used unlawfully. So long as you will use your gun responsibly, there is nothing to worry about regarding law enforcement.

You are allows allowed to purchase firearms from a firearms dealer, depending on the types of guns you are registered to own. The dealer first must perform a background check before any sale can be finalized. The dealer also must keep a record of the transaction, much like a licensed gun retailer.

Where Can I Carry In Washington?

Basically, anywhere in which possession of guns isn't prohibited is where you are allowed to open carry. Unlike concealed carry, a permit is not required to open carry in the state of Washington.

Open carry is allowed in vehicles should you obtain a CPL, but only under certain conditions. You must keep the firearm in its holster at all times and any magazines or ammunition must be removed. You can open carry with a CPL in cars as well as public transportation vehicles like trains and buses. Open carry of a rifle or other form of long gun is prohibited in vehicles.

Concealed carry is prohibited in a number of places despite the nature of carrying a gun in secrecy. If you are caught with carrying a gun in secrecy in a place that does not allow concealed carry, you will be escorted off the premises and questioned and/or charged by authorities. Considering that there are laws in place that prohibit concealed carry in certain areas, taking a gun into said area is considered breaking the law.

Here are the list of places in Washington where concealed carry is now allowed:

  • Schools
  • Police Stations
  • Prisons And detention Centers
  • Courthouses
  • Mental Health Facilities
  • Outdoor Events
  • Sporting Events And Race Tracks
  • Airports
  • Child Care Centers
  • Any Facility Owned By The Office Of Administrative Hearings
  • And Any Other Area Where Carrying A Firearm Is Prohibited According To Federal Law

Most of the time, these areas are already guarded by law enforcement or other security personnel who are carrying guns in the event of an emergency. Should you be caught in possession of a concealed firearm, authorities will assume that you have motives to use that firearm unlawfully.

Can I Buy Gun Accessories Without A License?

The purchase of firearms online requires you to provide plenty of credentials, even possibly elicit the services of a third party where you would have to receive the gun from, but that is not the case with gun accessories, such as holsters or belts. Considering gun accessories are considered pieces of equipment, rather than weapons or ammunition, there are no restrictions for buying gun accessories despite that it would imply that you own a certain kind of gun.


As you are looking to purchase a handgun in the state of Washington, make sure it is safe and comfortable to carry at all times with a quality holster from Concealment Express. We make reinforced KYDEX holsters for many makes and model of handgun. Choosing the one that's made for your gun in mind and find out why getting a holster from us is incredibly worth it.



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