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. As well as the individual openly carrying must also follow Federal laws such as they may not carry their weapon onto Federal property. Certain businesses also have the right to turn down entry and service to individuals openly carrying their firearms. Open carriers carrying their firearm without obtaining a concealed weapons permit must also be sure to unload their weapon and lock it in a hidden case while traveling in a vehicle. Unloading the firearm includes emptying the magazine from the pistol as well as releasing a round from the chamber. Washington State defines ‘loaded’ as allowing individuals the right to carry their firearm with a round chambered and the safety on.
Washington State in the past few years has also allowed residents to openly carry their firearms while on National property. It is highly recommended that individuals obtain their concealed weapons permit (CWP) however in Washington State it is not required to do so. Open carrying usually involves an individual wearing a holster either on the thigh, waist, or underneath the arms via a shoulder harness without a jacket if the weather permits it. Although open carrying is not commonly seen throughout Washington State it is most popular in areas where Gun Shows and other National Rifle Association (NRA) meetings are held. As long as the individual is openly carrying in a peaceable manner the individual is commonly never approached neither harassed by others nor authorities of any type. However, if an individual does obtain a concealed weapons permit it is recognized and has reciprocity in States such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah. Individuals are also encouraged to pay close attention to laws prohibiting firearms or open carry of firearms while using public transportation or traveling through states that might not recognize Washington State concealed weapons permits nor allow open carry of firearms in general.
Although in light of recent of events the use of firearms has become questionable for many, nevertheless it is a human right that is given to individuals solely for the purposes of protection. If rights that are freely given are not thoroughly and routinely exercised then eventually they may become forgotten than lost. Rights and individual liberties, such as the freedom to possess a firearm, should be taken with very serious thought and intellect. Proper courses should be taken in order to understand not only how a weapon works but the laws and responsibilities that entail while possessing one.
“Washington State FAQ About Gun Carry.” Washington Gun Rights
“RCW 9.41.050” Carrying Firearms. Washington State Legislature.
“Concealed Weapons.” Crime and Safety. Washington State Office of the Attorney General.
“Concealed Weapon Reciprocity.” Crime and Safety. Washington State Office of the Attorney General.