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 Concealed Weapons Frequently Asked Questions

Traveling through Washington?
If you are visiting or passing through Washington, Washington law allows individuals to transport a handgun in a vehicle without a concealed pistol license if:

  • the handgun is unloaded at all times,
  • the unloaded handgun is in a secured and closed opaque case, and/or
  • the unloaded handgun is locked within the vehicle and concealed from view when the vehicle is unattended.

Concealed weapons licenses issued in 12 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’s law recognizing concealed pistol/handgun licenses from other states is clear, unambiguous and confers no discretion on the Attorney General to ignore or waive any of its requirements.

A complete listing of all states and their reciprocity can be found on our Reciprocity page.

Moving to Washington?
Washington statute RCW 9.41.073(1) (b) requires that once a person becomes a resident of Washington he or she needs to get a Washington concealed pistol license to continue carrying a concealed weapon.  To apply for a Washington concealed pistol permit, you need to apply in person at the local law enforcement agency of your Washington residence address.  You will need to bring all the following with you to apply:

  • Picture identification such as a Washington state driver's license or identification card. If you don’t have a Washington state driver's license or identification card, you must provide proof you have lived in the state for at least the last 90 days.
  • Cash, check or money order made payable to the law enforcement agency to pay the license fee. This fee is non-refundable.  Check the DOL website for the current fee.

It may take up to 30 days to complete the background check before the license is issued. If you do not have a Washington driver’s license or identification card, it can take up to 60 days.

Prohibited places to carry?
The Washington state firearm law has designated certain areas where it is a violation of law to possess a firearm, regardless of whether you are lawfully carrying concealed.  The prohibited areas are: restricted access areas of a jail; the area used in connection with court proceedings; restricted access areas of a mental health facility; that portion of an establishment classified by the liquor control board as off-limits to persons under 21 years of age; restricted access areas of a commercial service airport; and public or private elementary and secondary school premises.  This can be found in RCW 9.41.300 and RCW 9.41.280.  Municipalities may also have laws, in keeping with state law, that prohibit firearm possession. 

What states recognize Washington’s CPL?
There are two web sites that contain information about what states recognize Washington’s Concealed Pistol License when Washington does not recognize theirs.  They are the National Rifle Association web site www.nraila.org/gun-laws.aspx and the USA Carry web site www.usacarry.com.  The Attorney General’s Office cannot vouch for the accuracy of these web sites.  If you know ahead of time what state(s) you will be travelling to you may want to contact that state’s attorney general’s office to inquire about the status of Washington’s Concealed Pistol License with them.

Why doesn’t Washington have reciprocity Florida?

In 2012, Florida changed its laws to issue licenses to persons under 21 years of age if they are active duty or honorably discharged veterans. Therefore, Washington cannot by law enter into reciprocity with Florida.

Why doesn’t Washington have reciprocity with Oregon?
Oregon state law does not allow it to honor other states’ concealed pistol licenses.  Therefore, Washington cannot by law enter into reciprocity with Oregon. 

Why doesn’t Washington have reciprocity with Texas?
Texas issues licenses to persons under 21 years of age if they are honorably discharged veterans.  It is also unclear whether or not Texas requires mental health background checks by the issuing authority that would satisfy Washington’s requirements. Therefore, Washington cannot by law enter into reciprocity with Texas.

Why isn't my state listed here?
A complete listing of all states and their reciprocity can be found on our Reciprocity page.

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