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In 2018, voters approved a ballot initiative (effective July 1, 2019) that imposes sale and possession restrictions on ‘semiautomatic assault rifles’, defined as “ any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.” This definition encompasses effectively all semiautomatic rifles.1

These restrictions include:

  • Raising the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 212
  • Creating a 10 day waiting period for all purchases and transfers of semiautomatic rifles3
  • Requiring prospective purchasers to provide proof of having taken safety training which includes information on:
    • Basic firearms safety rules
    • Firearms and children, including secure gun storage and talking to children about gun safety
    • Firearms and suicide prevention
    • Secure gun storage to prevent unauthorized access and use
    • Safe handling of firearms
    • State and federal firearms laws, including prohibited firearms transfers4

The measure also imposes restrictions on where individuals between 18 and 21 can possess semiautomatic rifles. With some exceptions, these individuals can carry only:

  • In the person’s home
  • At the person’s fixed place of business
  • On real property under the person’s control
  • Outside these areas, provided that the gun is unloaded and is either in secure storage or secured with a trigger lock for the specific purpose of:
    • Moving to a new home
    • Traveling between the person’s home and real property under his or her control
    • Selling or transferring the firearm.5


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  1. Washington Proposition 1639.[]
  2. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.240(1).[]
  3. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.092.[]
  4. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.090(2).[]
  5. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.240(3).[]