Disarming Prohibited Persons in Washington

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

In Washington, state superior courts and courts of limited jurisdiction may order forfeiture of a firearm proven to be:

  • Found concealed on a person not authorized to carry a concealed pistol;
  • Commercially sold to any person without an application as required by state law;
  • In the possession of a person prohibited from possessing the firearm under state law;
  • In the possession or under the control of a person at the time he or she committed or was arrested for committing a felony or committing a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person who is in any place in which a concealed pistol license is required, and who is under the influence of any drug or intoxicating liquor;
  • In the possession of a person free on bail or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony or for a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed;
  • In the possession of a person found to have been mentally incompetent while possessing the gun when apprehended or who is thereafter committed under state law;
  • Used or displayed by a person in the violation of a proper written order of a court of general jurisdiction; or
  • Used in the commission of a felony or of a nonfelony crime in which a firearm was used or displayed.1

Law enforcement officers of the state or of any county or municipality may confiscate a firearm found to be in the possession of a person under any of the circumstances specified above.2

Any confiscated firearm may be surrendered only: 1) to the prosecuting attorney for use in subsequent legal proceedings; 2) for disposition according to an order of a court having jurisdiction; or 3) to the owner if the proceedings are dismissed or the court otherwise directs.

In 2015, Washington enacted a law requiring that a law enforcement agency must, before returning a confiscated firearm:

(a) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is the individual from whom the firearm was obtained or an authorized representative of that person;

(b) Confirm that the individual to whom the firearm will be returned is eligible to possess a firearm;

(c) Ensure that the firearm is not otherwise required to be held in custody or otherwise prohibited from being released; and

(d) Ensure that twenty-four hours have elapsed from the time the firearm was obtained by law enforcement.3

This law also provides that a family or household member may request to be notified when a law enforcement agency returns a privately owned firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or to an authorized representative of that person.4 This notification may be made via telephone, email, text message, or another method that allows notification to be provided without unnecessary delay.5 If a family or household member has requested to be notified, a law enforcement agency must:

(a) Provide notice to the family or household member within one business day of verifying that the individual from whom the firearm was obtained is eligible to possess and receive the firearm; and

(b) Hold the firearm in custody for seventy-two hours from the time notification has been provided.6

Once these requirements have been met, the law enforcement agency must release the firearm to the individual from whom it was obtained or an authorized representative of that person upon request without unnecessary delay.7

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see the section entitled Domestic Violence and Firearms in Washington. See also the Mental Health Reporting in Washington section for additional court notices restricting the possession of a firearm.

 

  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(1). []
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.098(4). []
  3. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(1). []
  4. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 1. []
  5. Id. []
  6. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(3). []
  7. 2015 Wa. SB 5381, Sect. 2(2). []

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Washington

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

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;
  • Coercion;
  • Stalking;
  • 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.1

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.2

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 federal law by prohibiting gun possession by anyone subject to a protective order.3 The protective order must have been  issued after a noticed hearing and it must restrain the person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner (or child of the partner or restrained person) and the person must represent a credible threat to the safety of the intimate partner or child.4 An “intimate partner” is defined in Washington as a current or former spouse or domestic partner; a person with whom the restrained person has a child; or a current or former dating partner with whom the restrained person lives or has lived.5

The 2014 law also requires the court issuing the protective order to prohibit the restrained individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or a concealed carry license and require the restrained person to surrender any firearms or concealed carry licenses in his or her possession.6 The individual must file a proof of surrender with the court.7

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.8

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.9 If the court makes this finding upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence, then it is required to make such an order.10

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.11 These requirements may be for a period of time less than the duration of the order.12 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.13 These provisions apply to:14

Domestic violence protective orders are available to family and household members as defined above, plus domestic partners and former domestic partners.15

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.

  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a)(i). []
  2. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.010(5) and 10.99.020(3). []
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(2)(a). []
  4. Id. []
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800. []
  6. Id. []
  7. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.804. []
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(5). []
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(2). []
  10. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). []
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(4). []
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(6). []
  13. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(7). []
  14. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.800(1). []
  15. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 26.50.010(1), (2), 26.50.060. []

Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia does not require firearms owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm.

See our Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Registration of Firearms in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia has no law requiring gun owners or possessors to register their firearms.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia has no law requiring gun owners or purchasers to obtain a license.

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Child Access Prevention in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia has no statute that directly penalizes someone for allowing a child to access a firearm. However, West Virginia obligates any parent, guardian or custodian of a child less than 18 years of age, who knows that the child is in possession of a firearm or any other deadly weapon in or on any property of a public or private primary or secondary education institution in violation of state law, or who has reasonable cause to believe that such a violation is imminent, to immediately report knowledge or belief of the possession violation to the appropriate school or law-enforcement officials.1

For age requirements for the purchase or possession of firearms in West Virginia, see the West Virginia Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess section.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a(f)(1); see also W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a(b)(1). []

Personalized & Owner-Authorized Firearms in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia does not require firearms to be personalized.

See our Personalized Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Locking Devices in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm (although federal law applies), and no state statutes require firearm owners to lock their weapons.

See our Locking Devices policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms.

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Other Location Restrictions in West Virginia

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015

West Virginia prohibits any person from possessing a firearm or any other deadly weapon on any site that houses a court of law or in the offices of a family law master.1 The state also generally prohibits bringing any weapon upon the state capitol complex.2

Any owner, lessee or other person charged with the care, custody and control of real property may prohibit the carrying, openly or concealed, of any firearm or deadly weapon on property under his or her domain.3 Any firearms possessor who refuses to temporarily relinquish possession of his or her firearm on such premises or who refuses to leave such premises, after being requested to do so, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.4

West Virginia has no statutes prohibiting firearms in the following places, although administrative regulations may apply:

  • Hospitals;
  • Sports arenas;
  • Gambling facilities;
  • Polling places; or
  • Establishments that serve alcohol.
  1. W. Va. Code § 61-7-11a(g)(1), (h)(1). []
  2. W. Va. Code § 61-6-19(b). However, a person who holds a valid, current concealed weapons permit may keep a firearm in his or her motor vehicle upon the State Capitol Complex if the vehicle is locked and the weapon is out of normal view. []
  3. W. Va. Code § 61-7-14. []
  4. Id. []