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AGO 1965 No. 11 - March 04, 1965
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

LICENSES ‑- CONCEALED WEAPONS ‑- FEE.

Under RCW 9.41.070 the fee chargeable for a license to carry a concealed weapon is $1.00, and no other or greater fee may be charged.

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                                                                   March 4, 1965

Honorable Robert E. Schillberg
Prosecuting Attorney
Snohomish County
Everett, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 65-66 No. 11

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you requested an opinion of this office as to what is the fee which may be legally charged for issuing a license to carry a concealed weapon as provided in chapter 9.41 RCW.

            In our opinion the only fee which may be charged is $1.00.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 9.41.070 provides as follows:

            "The judge of a court of record, the chief of police of a municipality, or the sheriff of a county, shall within thirty days after the filing of an application of any person issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed on his person within this state for not more than one year from date of issue, for the purposes of protection or while engaged in business, sport or while traveling.  Such citizen's constitutional right to bear arms shall not be denied to him, unless there exists a record of his prior court conviction of a crime of violence, or of drug addiction or of habitual drunkenness or of confinement to a mental institution.  The license shall be in triplicate, in form to  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] be prescribed by the state director of licenses, and shall bear the name, address, description and signature of the licensee and the reason given for desiring a license.  The original thereof shall be delivered to the licensee, the duplicate shall within seven days be sent by registered mail to the director of licenses and the triplicate shall be preserved for six years, by the authority issuing said license.  The fee for such license shall be one dollar which shall be paid into the state treasury."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            The legislature, in the statute just quoted, has fixed the fee for a license to carry a pistol concealed on one's person in the amount of one dollar, which amount is to be paid into the state treasury.  We have found no other statute which authorizes the imposition of any other or greater amount as a condition precedent to the issuance of the license, except RCW 9.41.170, which applies only to the issuance of licenses to noncitizens by the director of licenses.

            In your letter you indicated that in certain areas an amount over and above one dollar is being charged in connection with such licenses, for handling, mailing and searching the records.  We find no authority for such charges.  In AGO 63-64 No. 19 [[to Prosecuting Attorney, Yakima County on April 22, 1963]]this office stated:

            "The problem of noncompensated record searches has been before the courts before.  Notwithstanding the argument that the costs of performing these searches create a heavy economic burden on public offices, the courts have held almost unanimously that no fees are collectible unless authorized by statute.  See,Furnia v. Grays Harbor County, 158 Wash. 619, 291 Pac. 1111 (1930);McQuay, Inc. v. Hunter, 234 Miss. 84, 105 So. (2d) 376 (1958); Mechem on Public Officers, § 738 (1890), and footnotes thereto.  We suggest therefore that any necessary corrective action be directed towards the legislature."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            See, also, AGO 57-58 No. 166 [[to Department of Highways on February 26, 1958]]and authorities cited therein and an opinion of this office to the president of the Washington State's Sheriffs' Association dated August 12, 1912 [[1911-12 OAG 308]].

            In our review of this matter we have not overlooked the possible application of RCW 36.18.050 which provides as follows:

            "Every officer who shall be called on or required to perform service for which no fees or compensation are provided for in this chapter shall be allowed fees similar and equal to those allowed him for services of the same kind for which allowance is made herein."

            That statute does not appear to allow any such additional fee to the sheriff in this instance, simply because the facts do not come within its terms.  Commenting on this provision in an earlier opinion to the prosecuting attorney of King county dated May 1, 1916 [[1915-16 OAG 291]], this office concluded:

            ". . . the only like fees which an officer can collect are fees 'similar and equal to those allowed him for services of the same kind.' . . ."

            Inasmuch as there are no fees collectible under chapter 36.18 RCW by a sheriff "for services of this same kind," that statute provides no further authority.  Even though an economic burden may be imposed upon the sheriff's office under RCW 9.41.070, we are squarely faced with the rule that no fees are chargeable unless authorized by statute.  AGO 63-64 No. 19,supra, and authorities additionally cited.  Accordingly, it is the opinion of this office that the only fee collectible from a person obtaining a license to carry a pistol concealed on his person is $1.00 as provided in RCW 9.41.070,supra.

 We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

M. H. HEMMEN
Assistant Attorney General

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