Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated December 9, 2013
In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Washington ranked 13th out of 50 – having enacted some gun violence prevention laws.
In 2013, the Washington legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.
Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation
|WA H 1612||Creates a gun offender registry.|
|WA S 5282||Creates a statewide database of mental health information, and require the submission of mental health commitment records to the state.|
Among other things, Washington:
- Requires firearm dealers to obtain a state license, and imposes a background check on all dealer employees;
- Prohibits certain domestic violence misdemeanants and persons subject to a domestic violence order of protection from purchasing or possessing any firearms; and
- Requires that all firearms dealers have a state license in order to transfer ammunition.
However, Washington does not:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- License firearm owners;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases;
- Regulate unsafe handguns; or
- Significantly regulate ammunition sales.
- Local governments in Washington have limited authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, and the state requires local law enforcement to issue a concealed handgun license to any applicant who meets certain basic qualifications.
In 2010, Washington had the 15th lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. Washington had the 17th lowest rate of crime gun exports among the states in 2009–meaning that crime guns originally sold in Washington were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 17th lowest rate among the states.
Washington Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Washington, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.