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Washington has relatively strong laws to disarm hate, since state law generally classifies hate crimes involving violence or credible threats of violence as firearm-prohibiting felonies.

Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Washington
Violence with Severe Bodily InjuryViolence with Bodily InjuryOther Crimes Involving Intentional Use of ForceThreats with Deadly Weapons
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
Federal LawVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no access
Very limited or no access
State LawVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no accessVery limited or no access
Very limited or no access

Washington has a broad, standalone hate crime offense that makes it a felony to maliciously and intentionally cause physical injury to another person or their property, or to make threats that cause reasonable fear of harm to a specific person or group of people, based on the victim’s “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.”1

Like federal law, Washington law generally prohibits people from accessing a firearm if they have been convicted of a felony.2 Because Washington generally classifies hate crimes as felonies if they involve violence or credible threats of violence, people convicted of violent hate crimes in Washington are generally prohibited from accessing firearms under both state and federal law.3

Washington generally does not prohibit people convicted of violent misdemeanors from accessing firearms for any period of time, except in the domestic violence context, and also does not make violent misdemeanors punishable by a term long enough to trigger federal firearm restrictions.4 As a result, people who commit certain assault, harassment, firearm brandishing, and stalking offenses are generally only prohibited from accessing firearms in Washington if they are convicted under the state’s felony hate crime statute. 


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  1. Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.36.080. Washington law also requires state authorities to collect data reported by local law enforcement regarding hate crimes. Wash. Rev. Code § 36.28A.030.[]
  2. Wash. Rev. Code § 9.41.040(2)(a). Federal law prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).[]
  3. Id.[]
  4. Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.20.021(3); Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.20.010(2)(a); Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.04.040(2).[]