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In recent years, Washington has made significant progress on gun safety, passing a number of lifesaving pieces of firearm legislation. 

In 2016 and 2017, respectively, Washington voters approved ballot measures that enacted universal background checks and an extreme risk protection law. In 2018, state voters also approved measures to raise the minimum age to buy guns and enact a child access prevention law. In recent years, the state has also established a state office of firearm violence prevention, enacted critical ghost gun legislation, banned the sale of assault weapons, and invested in community violence intervention programs. In 2021, Washington had the 12th lowest gun death rate among the states. Washington also supplied crime guns to other states at the 14th lowest rate among the states.

What Washington Does Well

  • Universal background checks
  • Partial minimum age laws
  • Extreme risk protection orders
  • Domestic violence gun laws
  • Ban on sale of assault weapon
  • Certain waiting period laws
  • Child access prevention laws
  • Extended background check period
  • State database background checks for handguns
  • Ghost gun law
  • Large capacity magazine ban
  • Sensitive location restrictions
  • Victim’s Access to Justice Law

What Washington Is Missing

  • Gun owner licensing
  • Strong concealed carry law
  • Broad open carry regulations
  • Bulk firearm purchase restrictions
  • Lost and stolen firearm reporting
  • Safe storage laws
  • Handgun design safety standards
  • Ban on possession of assault weapons



The data is clear: states with stronger gun laws have less gun violence. See how your state compares in our annual ranking.

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We’re in this together. To build a safer America—one where children and parents in every neighborhood can learn, play, work, and worship without fear of gun violence—we need you standing beside us in this fight.