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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, and invested in community violence intervention programs. In 2020, the state had the 12th-lowest gun death rate in the country and supplied crime guns to other states at the 14th-lowest rate. To further improve its gun laws, Washington should continue to strengthen investments in community violence intervention programs, limit access to military-style weaponry, and strengthen its firearm relinquishment laws.

What Washington Does Well

  • Universal background checks
  • Partial minimum age laws
  • Extreme risk protection orders
  • Domestic violence gun laws
  • Partial assault weapon restrictions
  • 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

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
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SPOTLIGHT

GUN LAW SCORECARD

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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