The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees our right to bear arms. Washington State supports this right but with limitations. There are specific laws in place that impose restrictions and regulations on the possession, purchase, selling, or use of firearms and other weapons.These are some of the most common weapons-related offenses in Washington State:
Unlawful Firearms: (RCW 9.41.190)
Certain firearms are completely illegal in Washington State. It is against the law to manufacture, transport, buy, own, sell, or possess a machine gun, short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or any of their component parts. There are specific exceptions to these restrictions as detailed under RCW 9.41.190. For example, this law does not apply to any peace officer on duty or traveling to or from official duty, nor does it apply to people who are licensed under federal law to produce, manufacture, repair, or test these weapons.
Violation of Unlawful Firearms is a Class C felony in Washington State, which means penalties may include prison time up to 5 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
Dangerous Weapons: (RCW 9.41.250)
“Dangerous weapons” are items that have been deemed too dangerous to be legally carried. Dangerous Weapons charges may apply to individuals who:
- Manufacture, sell, or dispose of or possess any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as sling shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife;
- Furtively carry with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or
- Use any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm unless the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law,
Possession of a dangerous weapon is a gross misdemeanor, punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW by up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $5,000.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm: (RCW 9.41.040)
An adult or juvenile is guilty of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the first degree if the person owns, has in his/her possession, or has in his/her control any firearm after having previously been convicted of certain criminal offenses in the past (as defined in RCW 9.41.040).
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm can be classified up to a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm: (RCW 9.41.050)
In Washington State, you may only carry a concealed weapon if you have a concealed pistol license. You may be charged with Carrying a Concealed Firearm if you are found with a firearm on your person or concealed in your vehicle.
Being in possession of a concealed firearm without a proper license is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
If you are charged with a firearms offense, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense immediately. You could be facing jail time, fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record that could significantly affect your future. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.