Washington has no law authorizing or requiring the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.
Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants in Washington
Washington prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another on or after July 1, 1993:
- Assault in the fourth degree;
- Reckless endangerment;
- Criminal trespass in the first degree; or
- Violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.
Washington defines “family or household members” as:
- Spouses, former spouses;
- Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;
- Adult persons related by blood or marriage;
- Adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
- Persons age 16 or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship;
- Persons age 16 or older with whom a person age 16 or older has or has had a dating relationship; and
- Persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders and Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued
Washington enacted a law in 2014 that mirrors the federal law by prohibiting gun possession by anyone subject to a final domestic violence protective or restraining order. The law also requires the court to order the abuser to surrender any firearms in his or her possession and file a proof of surrender with the court. The law also requires law enforcement agencies to establish a procedure regarding surrendered firearms, and requires the administrative office of the courts to establish a form for the proof of surrender.
An older provision of Washington law provides that, if a protective or restraining order states that the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by any party presents a serious and imminent threat to public health or safety or the health or safety of any individual, the court may:
- Require the party to surrender any firearm or other dangerous weapon;
- Require the party to surrender any concealed pistol license issued by the State of Washington;
- Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
- Prohibit the party from obtaining or possessing a concealed pistol license.
The court may also make such an order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the party used, displayed, or threatened to use a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a felony or committed any offense that renders him or her ineligible to possess a firearm. If the court makes this finding upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence, then it is required to make such an order.
The court may order the temporary surrender of a firearm or other dangerous weapon without notice to the other party if it finds that irreparable injury could result if an order is not issued until the time for a response has elapsed. These requirements may be for a period of time less than the duration of the order. The court may require the party to surrender any firearm or dangerous weapon in his or her immediate possession or control or subject to his or her immediate possession or control to local law enforcement, his or her counsel, or to any person designated by the court. These provisions apply to:
- Sexual assault protection orders under Washington Rev. Code 7.90.090;
- Anti-stalking protection orders under chapter 7.92 of the Washington Rev. Code, including ex parte orders;
- No-contact orders issued after a conviction for harassment under Washington Rev. Code § 9A.46.080;
- Anti-harassment protective order, including ex parte orders, under Washington Rev. Code § 10.14.080;
- No-contact orders issued when a domestic violence defendant is released on bail or personal recognizance, under Washington Rev. Code § 10.99.040;
- No-contact orders issued after a charge of domestic violence has been made under Washington Rev. Code § 10.99.045;
- Restraining orders issued upon filing of a complaint for dissolution of marriage, including ex parte orders, under Washington Rev. Code Ann. §§ 26.09.050 and 26.09.060;
- Restraining orders issued in cases where parental rights and child support issues are adjudicated, including ex parte orders, under Washington Rev. Code Ann. § 26.10.040, 26.10.115, 26.26.130, and 26.26.590;
- Domestic violence protective order under Washington Rev. Code Ann. § 26.50.060; and
- Ex parte domestic violence protective orders under Washington Rev. Code Ann. § 26.50.070.
Domestic violence protective orders are available to family and household members as defined above, plus domestic partners and former domestic partners.
For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers/possessors, see the Washington Background Checks and Washington Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections.
See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.