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New Legislation Targeting Firearms

New Legislation Targeting Firearms

The 2018 Washington State Legislature adopted a number of bills relating to the regulation of firearms. Here is an overview of the adopted bills.

Conditions for the Return of Concealed Pistol Licenses

Under EHB 2519 a person may only carry a concealed firearm, in most instances, if he or she has a concealed pistol license (CPL). To obtain a license, one must:

  • be eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law;
  • be 21 years of age or older;
  • not be subject to a court injunction regarding firearms under a number of listed protection, restraining, and no-contact orders;
  • not be pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a felony offense;
  • not be subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for any crime; and
  • not have been, within the past year, ordered to forfeit a firearm for possessing a concealed firearm while intoxicated in a place where a CPL is required.

If a person has surrendered or has had a license impounded, it may only be returned to the licensee if the above criteria are met and, under the new law, the licensee is not subject to an extreme risk protection order, sexual assault protection order, or stalking protection order.  The bill allows a law enforcement agency to require a photograph of a license applicant and print the photograph on the face of the license.

This legislation went into effect on June 7, 2018.

Waiver of Firearms Rights

Under SSB 5553, a person may file a voluntary waiver of firearm rights with the clerk of the court in any Washington county. The clerk verifies the person's identity using photo identification, submits it to the state patrol which, within 24 hours, must enter the waiver into the National Instant Criminal Background System (NCIS) and all other databases used to identify persons prohibited from buying firearms.

A person who has waived the right to a firearm may, after waiting at least seven days, revoke the waiver in the same county where it was originally filed.  If the voluntary waiver is revoked, the state patrol must remove the waiver from the electronic databases unless the person is ineligible to possess a firearm.

A person who knowingly makes a false statement regarding identity on the voluntary waiver of firearm rights form or the revocation of waiver form commits the crime of false swearing. A person who transfers a firearm to a person who has a valid waiver of firearm rights in place commits a Class C felony. No court may consider a voluntary firearm rights waiver or its revocation in any legal proceeding. A voluntary waiver of firearm rights may not be required as a condition of employment, services, or benefits. A voluntary waiver and related records are not subject to public disclosure and the records of a waiver must be destroyed after an individual's firearm rights are restored. 

The operative sections of the bill go into effect January 1, 2019; the section relating to the development of a waiver form went into effect June 7, 2018.

Use and Possession of Bump Stocks

A bump stock is device designed to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm to increase the rate of fire achievable to that of a fully automatic firearm. ESB 5992 makes it unlawful for a person to manufacture or sell any bump stock. It is also unlawful for any person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in their possession or control a bump stock, or to assemble or repair any bump stock.

Bump stocks are declared to be contraband and may be seized by law enforcement whenever they may be found. The manufacture, sale, purchase, or possession of a bump-fire stock is a Class C felony. Using a bump stock in the commission or furtherance of a felony is a Class A felony.

The state patrol must establish a bump stock buyback program permitting a person possessing a bump stock to relinquish the device in exchange for $150. The buy-back program will operate between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. The state patrol and participating law enforcement agencies must establish guidelines for the destruction or other disposition of relinquished bump stocks. 

The prohibition to manufacture or sell bump stocks goes into effect July 1, 2018; the remaining sections are effective July 1, 2019.

Domestic Violence Harassment Conviction Precludes Possession of Firearms

Under SB 6298, a person convicted of the crime of domestic violence harassment or having been found not guilty by reason of insanity for that crime, when committed by one family member or household member against another, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. This prohibition is effective June 7, 2018 for offenses committed on or after the effective date.

Questions? Comments

If you have comments about this blog post, please comment below or email Paul Sullivan at Remember, you can contact us anytime with your questions by using our Ask MRSC form or calling us at (206) 625-1300 or (800) 933-6772.

MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

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About Paul Sullivan

Paul worked with many local governments and authored numerous MRSC publications on local elections, ordinances, and general local government operations in his many years at MRSC. He is now retired.