Waiting Periods in Washington

Posted on December 19, 2014

Washington imposes no mandatory waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm for every firearm transfer.1

If, however, an applicant has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest, the dealer must hold the delivery of the handgun until the warrant is served and satisfied by appropriate court appearance.2 Where local law enforcement discovers open criminal charges, pending criminal or commitment proceedings, or an arrest or outstanding warrant for an offense making a person ineligible to possess a handgun, if the records of disposition have not yet been reported or entered sufficiently to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun, the local jurisdiction may hold the sale and delivery of a handgun up to 30 days in order to confirm existing records in Washington or elsewhere.3 After 30 days, the sale or delivery may proceed unless an extension is approved by a local district court or municipal court after a showing of good cause.4

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. While not a mandatory waiting period, Washington allows five days to complete a background check on a prospective handgun purchaser prior to delivery of the handgun. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(1)(c). []
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(3). []
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(4). []
  4. Id. []