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Washington State Frequently Asked Questions About Gun Carry

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by m1gunr, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. m1gunr

    m1gunr Tacoma Member

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    1) Where can I carry in Washington? Washington State follows British legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful. So the real question is; where can you NOT carry in Washington? There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of: RCW 9.41.050 (Carrying Firearms), RCW 9.41.280 (Carry on School Grounds), RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places), and RCW 70.108.150 (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals). It is your responsibility to read and understand the definitions and exceptions in the law. RCW 9.41.050 is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL(see RCW 9.41.060 on Exceptions). Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers). Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license. There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of: 18 USC 922 (q), which prohibit the carrying of a handgun within 1000 feet of a school unless you are licensed to carry or meet another exemption to this law. The constitutionality of this law is questionable in light of United States v. Lopez and District of Columbia v. Heller. To our knowledge, there has been no prosecutions of this law where this is the sole charge. 18 USC 930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility."

    2) What is "Warranting alarm", why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal t o open carry? In 1969, RCW 9.41.270 was passed in light of the intimidating actions of the Black Panther Party in both the State of California and in Seattle. Analysis of the legislative intent behind the bill and final law indicated that the Washington State Legislature never intended this to be a gun control bill, and stripped out in committee provisions of the bill which would have prohibited carry within 500 feet of any "public building" for fear it would ensnare a peaceable open carrier walking nearby, thereby violating a persons rights under Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution. This is not to say that all forms of open carry are lawful. The key word is "peaceable". If your pistol is in a holster, and you're generally not touching it or making gripping movements (except of course, in an actual act of self defense), or opening a coat to expose your pistol to intimidate someone to do something, then the current body of case law (state v casad, state v. spencer) generally makes such carry lawful.

    3) Can I open carry on a Bus, Train, Ferry, Personal Auto, Motorcycle or Bicycle? (RCW 9.91.025) The right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion is not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound /Amtrak is not a municipal transit vehicle). Busses, Trains & the Ferries are considered vehicles in Washington. You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in or on any vehicle if you possess a CPL (see RCW 9.41.060 for exceptions).

    4) Can I carry in a bank, grocery store, church? They are all private property and may impose their own rules. The Federal Government may own shares of a bank but they DO NOT function as Federal Property.

    5) Can I carry at or near a school? Or College? (RCW 9.41.280)
    If you have a valid CPL and are picking up or dropping off a student you are allowed on the school grounds. Firearms are not permitted in school buildings. Colleges set their own policies, most of which seem to ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia is the only college in this state we know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus.

    6) I saw a park sign saying no firearms. Is that legal? (RCW 9.41.290) No. Washington State has preempted all firearms laws regarding possession. You may carry in any city, county, state, National Forest or National Park in Washington State. (National Parks are still under federal control so you cannot carry into any building.)

    7) Can I carry with a round in the chamber? Or have to use a certain holster? There is no state or Federal law which prescribes carrying with a round in the chamber other than the normal "loaded" definition (RCW 77.15.460) and the laws that regulate loaded carry. It is suggested that your holster choice have some form of retention.

    8) How old do you have to be to carry a loaded handgun? (RCW 9.41.240) You must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public. See RCW 9.41.060 for exceptions.

    9)What states accept the Washington CPL?
    AK, AR, AZ, FL, ID, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, MT, MO, NC, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT

    10) Can I carry in a bar? (RCW 9.41.300) No. You cannot carry in a place where alcohol IS consumed AND is off limits to persons under 21. Restaurants that serve alcohol are fine.

    11) Where can I get information about firearms & licensing in Washington state?
    http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/index.html

    12) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when? The law is somewhat vague, but essentially IF you are required to have a CPL in your possession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded in/on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though.

    13) Where can the latest edition of the Washington Gun Rights Pamphlet?
    http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;id=14

    14) Is there a list of gun friendly businesses? Yes, Friend or Foe is a website you can plug in a zip code or city and find those pro businesses. Green is pro / red is anti.
    http://www.friendorfoe.us/



    No license is needed to open carry however it is highly recommended that any person who open carries in the State of Washington acquire a CPL. Washington is a “Shall Issue” state for CPL’s. Meaning that if you have no background issues you will be issued a license within 30days(resident) and 90 days(non-resident) by law. See question number 11.

    This document is in no way legal advice. Consult an attorney on legal matters.
     
    kukusya and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Good post! :thumbup:
     
  3. sceptreofjudah

    sceptreofjudah Longview, WA New Member

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    RCW 9.41.060: Exceptions to restrictions on carrying firearms.

    RCW 9.41.060
    Exceptions to restrictions on carrying firearms.


    The provisions of RCW 9.41.050 shall not apply to:

    (8) Any person engaging in a lawful outdoor recreational activity such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, or horseback riding, only if, considering all of the attendant circumstances, including but not limited to whether the person has a valid hunting or fishing license, it is reasonable to conclude that the person is participating in lawful outdoor activities or is traveling to or from a legitimate outdoor recreation area;

    So, if you are on your way to outdoor land you have legal access to for hiking or target shooting, ALL provisions of RCW 9.41.050 do not apply. You CAN carry a loaded pistol in your vehicle without a CCL.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  4. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Ummmm, I'm not sure. RCW 77.15.460 seems to have some specific, conflicting language.

    I'm not a lawyer though, and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night either... ;)

    Peter



    RCW 77.15.460: Loaded firearm in vehicle

    Loaded firearm in vehicle — Unlawful use or possession — Penalty.

    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle if:

    (a) The person carries, transports, conveys, possesses, or controls a rifle or shotgun in or on a motor vehicle; and

    (b) The rifle or shotgun contains shells or cartridges in the magazine or chamber, or is a muzzle-loading firearm that is loaded and capped or primed.

    (2) A person is guilty of unlawful use of a loaded firearm if the person negligently shoots a firearm from, across, or along the maintained portion of a public highway.

    (3) Unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle or unlawful use of a loaded firearm is a misdemeanor.

    (4) This section does not apply if the person:

    (a) Is a law enforcement officer who is authorized to carry a firearm and is on duty within the officer's respective jurisdiction;

    (b) Possesses a disabled hunter's permit as provided by RCW 77.32.237 and complies with all rules of the department concerning hunting by persons with disabilities.

    (5) For purposes of this section, a firearm shall not be considered loaded if the detachable clip or magazine is not inserted in or attached to the firearm.
     
  5. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    If you will go to RCW 77 (F&W law) you will see that a "firearm" long gun. Does not apply to a pistol carried for SD.
     
  6. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Here's a guideline for open carry in WA State;

    Scenario:
    Officer Smith sees two men walking down a sidewalk, the men appear to be talking as they cross the street. One of the men greets a lady as they pass. Officer Smith notices everyone is taking a second look at the men. Officer Smith sees both men are carrying what appear to be semi-auto pistols on their belts. It doesn’t appear the men are trying to hide the guns.


    QUESTION #1:
    Have the men committed a crime by carrying their guns where everyone can see them while in public?

    The correct answer: No
    Washington is an “open carry” state for firearms. This means there is a presumption that carrying a handgun in an exposed holster, for instance, is legal except where it is specifically prohibited. Open carry does not require a license.

    QUESTION #2:
    RCW 9.41.270 states “It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of others.”

    Can the men be charged?

    The correct answer: No
    In this law, mere possession of an openly carried handgun is not prohibited. In order to support an enforcement action under this law, the officer must be able to articulate (describe in a convincing manner) malicious intent by the suspect or circumstances that reasonably cause alarm to the public. In either case, because open carry in Washington is presumably legal, the articulation must include something beyond mere, open possession.
     
  7. Woody

    Woody western Wa. Member

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  8. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Kent, WA Member

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    Amazing revelation. Thanks for posting the information on Washington State's CPL. As far as the lawful open carry goes, I wouldn't do it just becuase I can.
     
  9. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    I leave 'presumably' in there, since there's nothing in WA State law that specifically in and of itself talks about open carry one way or another...forthwith, therefore, henceforth (lol)...it is 'presumed' to be a legal act.
     
  10. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    As with anything based on English law, anything that is not procribed in law as illegal, is presumed legal. Yep, I would agree with using your wording.

    Consider: for an officer to cite you, he must have a law to cite. As there is no law that specifically deals with OC, it would be difficult for that office to write the citation, No?
     
  11. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    That would be correct.

    I posted RCW 9.41.27, to inform that mere, open possession is not illegal, as long as no overt act is done to alarm the public.
     
  12. Woody

    Woody western Wa. Member

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    lol.:thumbup:
     
  13. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't that what happend in Vancouver at a Winco a while back? The man was charged with open carry "warranting alarm"? Some people said he did nothing, he said he did nothing but others said he was acting like he was going to draw, so he was arrested and convicted.
     
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  14. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    I'll be gone for a few days from the 'puter, but will address this when I get back.
     
  15. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I read that most thought he was acting aggressive.He had done the same thing the day before? at another store.
    That guy was not a good example for the OC groups
     
  16. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    OC brings along a lot of responsibility, even more so than one who packs concealed.
     
  17. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I had a liquor store clerck start mouthing off to me last month.
    I started to say something and decided to just leave.Then he started in again.
    All I could think of was "Mike you're packing ,walk away" and I did.
    If I was in a store OCing and it happened,I would leave immediately. You will always look like the bad guy in a situation like that.
     
  18. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    And what did you do to set him off?
     
  19. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Why would you think I set him off?

    For one he has no people skills,but all I did was move a tag from one bottle to another.Not anything that should make some kid talk to me like a second grader.
     
  20. gogoDawgs

    gogoDawgs Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    Where did you read that "he" was acting aggressive? Are you speaking of Kurk Kirby? or someone else?