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Know the Laws: Washington

UPDATED August 10, 2017

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Below is information about state gun laws in Connecticut.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate or lawyer in your community for more information on gun laws in your state. To find an agency, please go to the WA Where to Find Help page to find help.

More Information and Where to Get Help

back to topI do not have a protection order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of any crimes, is there anything I can do?

It depends.  In Washington, even if you don't have a protection order that prohibits the abuser from having a gun and the abuser has not been convicted of any crime, the following people cannot possess or buy a gun:

  • someone who has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment;
  • a person under 18 years of age who does not qualify for an exception; or
  • someone pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a “serious offense.”*  For more information on what crimes are considered “serious offenses,” see I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety.  See our Staying Safe page for more information.  You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help.  You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety.   See our WA State and Local Programs page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.

For additional information on gun laws in Washington, you can go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence website.

* RCW § 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii),(iv),(v)

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back to topI've read through all of this information and I am still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing.  There are people who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.

  • You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
  • You can contact us by writing to our Email Hotline.
  • You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.

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