Concealed Carry Permits In Washington Is Governed By A State Constitution
State constitutions generally govern the ability to obtain a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit, however, not all states require them. There are just a few states – like Arizona, Vermont, and Alaska – which include what’s called “constitutional carry” laws in their legal structure, and a permit is not required to carry a concealed firearm. There are other stipulations within constitutional carry, however, that demand that anyone carrying a concealed weapon identify it when in contact with any Peace Officer. Failure to do so can result in felony charges being filed. Make sure you know the laws in Washington.
Do you know the laws where you live in Washington, you may be able to take advantage of the streamlined application process that exists within “Shall Issue” states. The standard approval process usually includes a background check, one or more required classes, qualification with your firearm (safety and marksmanship), and paying the required fee. Currently, Utah, Nevada, and Florida are the easiest states to obtain a Shall Issue CCW.
While obtaining a Concealed Carry permit requires an application for most citizens, even when acquiring one, it doesn’t mean that it is free from restrictions. For instance, in Washington you may only be allowed to carry a revolver rather than a semi-automatic pistol, or you may only be allowed to carry a specific caliber of firearm. Additionally, you may have to undergo testing for proficiency regarding weapon safety and marksmanship, and in some instances, your CCW permissions may be limited to the county or city where the permit was issued. Where proficiency testing does occur, it usually happens on either an annual or semi-annual basis.
There are three types of Concealed Carry in States, Shall Issue, May Issue, and Constitutional Carry
Although some issuers of CCWs are not as strict as others, acquiring a CCW in Washington may not be an easy process. There are “Shall Issue” states and “May Issue” states, ( and Constitutional Carry which do not require any permit) and if your state happens to be a “May Issue” state, then the local authorities are generally given discretion as to whether they believe it should be issued or not. However, no matter which type of issuance your state’s laws command, you will still have to go through a lengthy application process. In most locales, this means a long application requiring extensive information, some may also require a convincing letter that provides justification for your need of a Concealed Carry permit, and possible an oral interview as well.
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Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitutional Provision States: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Concealed weapons licenses issued in 11 states will be recognized in Washington State so long as the handgun is carried in accordance with Washington law. In order for Washington to recognize other states’ concealed weapons permits, Washington state's reciprocity law “RCW 9.41.073” dictates that the other state must: Recognize Washington concealed pistol licenses; Not issue concealed pistol licenses to persons under age 21; AND Require a mandatory fingerprint-based background check for criminal and mental health history.
Washington is an "open carry" state for firearms; a person may carry a firearm in an exposed holster without any kind of permit unless there is something that makes it specifically illegal. Example, carrying a weapon onto primary or secondary school grounds or other prohibited places, or carrying a weapon by most felons or anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime.
Washington does not have a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine. However, statutes long on the books are very similar to the more modern castle laws. For example, deadly force is considered lawful in Washington to prevent serious injury or death to oneself or any other person at the hands of an attacker. Deadly force is also justified to prevent a felony from being committed. Washington State’s Supreme Court has held that citizens do not have a duty to retreat before using force in the face of an attacker.
Washington is one of the more liberal states in the country when it comes to regulating citizens who want to carry a concealed weapon, experts say. The law, often referred to as a "shall issue" law, requires law-enforcement agencies to issue a concealed-weapons permit to all citizens who meet a specific list of requirements.
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In Pierce County and throughout the state, people have been grabbing up concealed pistol licenses at unprecedented rates. In January, with Tacoma crowds so heavy at times that some applicants reported four-hour waits, LESA set a record for itself with 1,964 license applications, about twice the usual volume.
The number of concealed pistol licenses has been raising fast even before the latest push for gun control. Statewide, according to the Department of Licensing, the number of license holders went from 239,000 in 2006 to 392,784 at the end of 2012, a 64 percent increase. For perspective, that’s about 1 of every 12 adults in the state.
Washington State follows British legal tradition which entails that anything not proscribed as unlawful is lawful, also known as 'The Rule of Lenity.' This gives citizens of Washington State (as well as some of individuals with temporary living status in Washington State) the right to openly carry their firearm without a concealed weapons permit (CWP). Of course the individual openly carrying must abide by the current Washington State laws such as the open carrier must be an adult of a minimum of 21 years of age and must not have any prior felonies or warrants on their record.
From a sheriff in Washington state: As Sheriff, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington. I will continue to do so. As Sheriff of Wahkiakum County I will not enforce any laws that are held to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution as protecting the rights of citizens to own and possess firearms.
Washington state currently has multiple firearms manufacture’s or related companies that include: Crossroads Arms, Dave's Guns N Stuff, Dayton Traister Co Inc, Eagle View Research, Gators Custom Guns, Hensley's Firearms, High Mountain Hunting Supply, Mc Cann Industries, Mesa Rifle Works, One Shot Firearms & Acces, Wade's Eastside Guns, West Coast Armory, West Coast Armory Indoor Range, Windom & Company.
US Precision Defense has a members only section along with a section dedicated to women with all aspects of shooting and carrying concealed.