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Washington Gun Laws – Buying & Registering Firearms

How to Buy a Gun in Washington

Gun laws vary from the federal and state level. In 2014, Washington Law Enforcement became the first federal law in the United States to require background checks, even regarding private sales of guns. 

Here’s everything else you need to know about laws surrounding buying guns in Washington.

All firearms dealers in Washington State must conduct firearms sales through a federally licensed firearms dealer (or FFL) as per the Washington Gun Federal Law.

The licensed dealer is responsible for running a legal background check on people who want to possess/buy a handgun. The process takes anywhere from ten business days to a few weeks.  

The prospective buyer will only be able to finalize the sale of long guns, handguns, or semi-automatic assault rifles if they pass the background check as per the state law. 

Buying a Gun in Washington

There is also no limit to how many firearms you can own as long as you have passed the background check. As per state law, there will be a 10-day waiting period for purchasing semiautomatic rifles.

Washington is an open-carry state with certain restrictions, including courthouses and primary and secondary school premises.

4 Steps to Follow

4 Simple Steps to Buy a Gun in Washington

1. Bring Everything You Need

You need to have a Washington state ID (ex: driver’s license) with your current Washington address on it to buy a handgun in Washington.  

2. Fill-Out Necessary Forms

The state will require you to fill out a Federal-Firearm Transaction Record and a Washington State DOL Firearms Transfer Application. You will need to fill out personal information, as well as the specifications of the handgun you intend to purchase (such as make and model, caliber, serial number, and a brief description).  

3. Pass A Criminal Background Check

After you’ve submitted the form, law enforcement will perform the necessary background check on you. The process will take anywhere from ten to 60 days. The FFL will use widely available data from the FBI or the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to check for criminal history, protection orders, and previous warrants against you. 

4. Verify Your Address in Washington

If the ID you present doesn’t reflect your address in Washington, you can bring supplementary documents. Mortgage documents, home utility bills with your name on them, or anything that would support your claim to be a local resident of Washington within the last 90 days are accepted.

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New Law in Age Requirement

New Law in Age Requirement

You must be 21 years of age or older to qualify for purchasing handguns/firearms and semi-automatic assault rifles and apply for a concealed pistol license to carry a concealed firearm legally. 

Those who are under 21 but over 18 years old can be in possession of a firearm only in these scenarios: 

  • At your place of residence 
  • At your fixed place of business 
  • On real property under your control 

And if you are younger than the legal age of 18 years old, the laws allow you to possess a firearm in these situations: 

  • You are a member of the US Armed Forces, and you are on duty (whether reserve or active) 
  • You are attending a firearms safety course or otherwise participating in a firearm organized competition 
  • You are attending a hunters’ safety course or otherwise hunting with a valid license
  • You are at your place of residence or business, with permission of your parent or guardian 
  • You are traveling or on the move with an unloaded firearm for the specific purposes of: 
    • Moving or traveling to a new home 
    • Selling or transferring possession of the firearm

Washington Law Restrictions in Purchasing A Gun

Individuals who are found guilty of any of these scenarios are prohibited from possessing a firearm and also applying for a concealed carry/concealed pistol license:  

  • A person convicted three times of driving under the influence within the past five years of applying 
  • A person with a history of violent acts or who have been ruled by law to be incompetent 
  • A person subject to a court restraining order or committed by a court for treatment of mental health
  • A person who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity, or any felony like domestic violence, any abuse or sex crimes, or any other crimes against a household member, intimate partner, or a family member, in which a firearm was either used or displayed 
  • Non-citizens with no green card
Law Restrictions in Purchasing A Gun

FAQS

A valid Washington’s concealed pistol license is acknowledged in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

There is no limit to the number of firearms you can buy and be in possession of as per the Washington Law, as long as you pass the background check. However, any automatic rifle is banned.

Yes, you can purchase a semiautomatic assault rifle, much like you could a handgun.

Private selling of guns is not prohibited, but they are similarly conducted as you would local state-backed dealers.

, you can buy a gun in Washington and send it as a gift, as long as the recipient does not meet any of the criteria above that would prohibit them from possessing a firearm on their own. Such is called straw buying, and it is illegal. [1]

Private selling or transferring of firearms in the state must go through the necessary background checks. The buyer or transferee must be eligible to possess a firearm on his own; otherwise, it is considered a first offense gross misdemeanor.

Final Thoughts on Buying A Gun In Washington

The state of Washington Gun Laws considered the rights of gun and non-gun owners when they crafted the order restraining illegal possession of firearms and other gun regulations. You need to follow four easy steps to qualify for purchasing handguns and apply for a concealed pistol license to carry a concealed firearm legally.  

Also, according to gun laws, you are required to be at least 21 years old to carry a firearm unless you are at home or somewhere under your control. Please note that all information stated here should not replace actual legal advice. When in doubt, consult an attorney.

References:

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/straw-buyer.asp

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