Washington is more lenient towards gun owners than many other states. However, it is not without certain restrictions, and federal laws also come into play.
If you have questions about your right to possess firearms legally in Washington, continue reading this article. Remember, federal and state laws affect your firearm rights. According to the Washington State Legislature, any serious offense will lead to the removal of your right to possess any firearms.
Without any criminal convictions, Washington still does not allow you to possess certain firearms. You cannot own machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, bump stocks or short-barreled rifles.
In addition to the banned weapons described above, it is illegal to alter or remove serial numbers, manufacturers’ names or other identifying inscriptions.
Exceptions to prohibited weapons
According to RCW 9.41.190, a person may possess a short-barreled rifle under the following circumstances:
- If you are a peace officer under an official duty or traveling to or from official duty
- If you are a member of the armed forces and traveling to or from official duty
- If you produce, manufacture, repair or test otherwise prohibited firearms with the intent to sell them to the armed forces, federal, state, county or municipal law enforcement, or export them under compliance with federal law
- If you lawfully purchased the prohibited weapon before July 1st, 1994, you may use an affirmative defense for your possession
Consult with a lawyer if you worry about compliance with state and federal law. The Constitution protects your right to own a firearm, but that does not mean you have the right to possess a firearm under any circumstance.