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Firearms Information

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Both state and federal laws govern the use of firearms. Here in Washington, most state firearm laws are found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW Chapter 9.41) while many federal laws and regulations are listed in the United States Code. Although these two legal reference sources are informative, they are not all-inclusive, and additional firearm restrictions apply in certain cases.

One familiar example of additional firearms restrictions is in airports, where the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits carrying firearms in certain restricted areas on or about a person or accessible property (such as carry-on luggage). No private citizen-not even with a valid concealed pistol license-is exempt from this special restriction. Another example of general restriction are weapons on school premises.

Cities, counties and municipalities in Washington are prohibited from enacting firearms laws and ordinances unless such ordinances are specifically authorized by and consistent with state law. For example, you may be legally entitled to own a handgun and carry it with a concealed pistol license, but you may be prevented by county or municipal regulations from discharging that firearm for target practice in certain areas.

Just as with firearms safety, it is your responsibility as a firearm owner to know applicable firearm laws and regulations. Although no single informational can possibly list all firearm laws and regulations, the ones below are of general interest to all firearm owners. Remember this is only a brief summary of selected laws.


Possession of a firearm.


Certain persons are prevented by state and\or federal law from possessing firearms. Among those prohibited are persons under 18 years of age (with certain exceptions) and persons convicted of any felony or domestic violence offenses. Courts may also order forfeiture of a firearm found concealed on a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (RCW 9.41.040RCW 9.41.098)

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Carrying handguns without a license.


Generally speaking state law requires a valid concealed pistol license before you can carry a handgun concealed on your person. However, the law does provide a number of exceptions including:

  • Persons within their home or fixed place of business;
  • Members of gun collecting or shooting clubs when those members are at, going to or returning from gun shows or target practice; 
  • Individual hunters when on a lawful hunting, camping or fishing trip; or, 
  • Any person while carrying a pistol unloaded and in a closed opaque case or secure wrapper. 

A complete listing of legal requirements and exceptions can be found in RCW 9.41.050 and RCW 9.41.060.

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Concealed pistol license.


If you are in the State of Washington, to carry a pistol concealed, you must have a valid Washington concealed pistol permit on your person. Washington only has reciprocity with certain states. The state in question would need to be contacted to ascertain if they would honor a permit issued in this state or check the following link.  Washinton State Attorney General – Reciprocity

There are states we do not share reciprocity who DO honor  Washington Concealed Pistol Licenses. To locate these states follow this link and click on Washington State. www.nraila.org/

 

If you have been convicted of a Felony, under current RCW you are not eligible to obtain a permit until your 'Rights' have been restored through a court of law. We would suggest obtaining legal counsel to assist you in this process as we are prohibited from offering legal advice. If you have been convicted of any of the new misdemeanor laws relating to the Brady Act, i.e. Domestic Violence, etc., you have lost your right to carry a firearm and must go through the process of having your rights restored to be legal. Further information may be obtained from consulting the Revised Code of Washington 9.41. for a complete text of the law.

 

You must be 21 years of age and a United States citizen; not be under any court indictments; have no active warrants, pending trials, appeals on felony charges and no court orders against possessing of firearms. There is a process for an Alien to obtain a permit by conferring directly with the Department of Licensing-Firearms in Olympia, Washington, to start this process.

 

Concealed Pistol Permits may be obtained for Mason County residents at the headquarters office of the Mason County Sheriff's Office (322 N 3rd Street, Shelton, WA 98584) and the North Precinct (23293 NE Highway 3, Belfair, WA. 98528) 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday at both locations, and 9:00 AM through 11:30 AM on Saturdays at the North Precinct.

 

Residents of other states may apply here also. However, residents of other cities located within Washington State must apply to their local jurisdiction. While residents living within Mason County can expect a 30 day period of waiting, the law provides our agency up to 60 days for out of state residents to process due to time needed for extra paperwork.

 

Click here to view fees and other requirements.

Click Here to view the instruction sheet for a permit application.

Click Here for the permit application.

Further information may be obtained by contacting us during business hours.

Mason County Sheriff's Office, Shelton – 360.427.9670 X313

North Precinct, Belfair – 360.277.3097

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Leaving a pistol in a vehicle.


Whenever loaded handguns are left unattended in a vehicle by a person licensed to carry a concealed pistol the pistol must be locked within the vehicle and concealed from view from outside the vehicle. RCW 9.41.050RCW 9.41.060

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Use of a firearm by a minor


Unless otherwise authorized by the exceptions below, a person under 18 years of age is guilty of the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm if the person owns or has in his or her possession, or has in his or her control, any firearm. Exceptions include persons under the age of 18 who are:

In attendance at a firearm safety training course; 

Engaging in target practice at an established range or other legal shooting area; 

Engaging in organized competition involving use of a firearm; 

Hunting or trapping under a valid license issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife; 

In an area where shooting is legal, is not trespassing, and is either (a) at least 14 years of age, has been issued a hunter education certificate and is using a lawful firearm other than a pistol; or, (b) under the supervision of a parent guardian, or other adult approved for the purpose by the parent or guardian; 

Traveling with any unloaded firearm for activities described in (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) above. 

On real property under the control of his or her parent, other relative or legal guardian. 

At his or her residence and who has the permission of his or her parent. 

Members of armed forces while on duty.

(RCW 9.41.040RCW 9.41.042)

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Short Barreled Shotguns and Rifles


Short-barreled shotguns and rifles are illegal. A 'short barreled shotgun' means a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such a weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches. A 'short-barreled rifle' means a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (weather by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches. (Title 18, Chapter 44, United States CodeRCW 9.41.010RCW 9.41.190)  NOTE:  If the owner of the above mentioned weapon has the weapon propertly registered with the appropriate Federal Agency under Federal Law, then it is the exception to the above law and not illegal (RCW 9.41.190(2)).

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Use of Deadly Force


The State code provides that the use of, or attempted use of deadly force upon another person is lawful when used to prevent or attempted to prevent an actual felony against the individual using the force, or against a person in the individual's presence or to prevent an actual felony within the person's home or dwelling. The use of deadly force must be lawful; the individual's actions will be evaluated in light of his or her subjective impressions and all the acts and circumstances known to the individual at the time. The question is whether the shooter's conduct was what a reasonably prudent person would do under the same or similar circumstances as they appeared to the shooter at the time. In some cases, criminal and civil charges may be brought against a person who uses deadly force. If the shooter's action is found to be justified in a criminal case, the defendant's costs will be reimbursed by the state. (RCW 9A.16.050RCW 9A.16.110)

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The Sheriff enforces and defends the United States Constitution and state constitution and laws, as stated in the following NSA Article #2013-1:

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NATIONAL SHERIFFS' ASSOCIATION 2013-1

WHEREAS, the elected Sheriff is recognized throughout the United States as the chief local law enforcement officer and is directly accountable to the people through the electoral process; and

WHEREAS, all Sheriffs take an oath of office to enforce and defend the United States Constitution and state constitution and laws; and

WHEREAS, a primary mission of Sheriffs is to ensure public safety; and

WHEREAS, gun safety is vitally important to our nation's public health and the 3,080 Sheriffs of this nation; and

WHEREAS, the cause of violence, including gun violence, must be addressed on many fronts, including improved mental health treatment, media violence, drugs, gangs, breakdown of the family, strengthening laws that prevent or reduce the access of legally prohibited persons to firearms and vigorous enforcement of existing laws; and

WHEREAS, the National Sheriff's Association represents the interests of all Sheriffs who are sworn to support and defend the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, Sheriffs strongly support our citizens' protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and the National Sheriffs' Association does not support any laws that deprive any citizen of the rights provided under the Constitution and Bill of Rights; and

WHEREAS, the doctrine of judicial review grants to the United States Supreme Court and the lower courts the power to determine the constitutionality of any law and Sheriffs do not possess the legal authority to interpret the constitutionality of any law;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the National Sheriffs' Association supports the rights conferred by the Second Amendment and further recognizes the ultimate authority of the courts in interpreting the scope of those constitutional rights.

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