In 2018, Washington voters approved a voter initiative that, among other things, increased the minimum age to purchase handguns and semiautomatic assault rifles to 21, and now generally prohibits anyone from transferring a semiautomatic rifle to anyone under 21.1
- In the person’s “place of abode;”
- At the person’s fixed place of business; or
- On real property under his or her control.
Similarly, a person who is between the ages of 18 and 21 can possess a semiautomatic assault rifle 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 firearm4
In addition, an applicant for a concealed pistol license must be 21 years of age or older.5
In Washington, a person under age 18 may not own or possess a firearm, unless he or she is:
- In attendance at a hunter’s safety course or a firearms safety course;
- Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited;
- Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm;
- Participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group that uses firearms as a part of the performance;
- Hunting or trapping under a valid license;
- In an area where the discharge of a firearm is permitted, when the individual is not trespassing and is either:
- At least 14 years of age, having been issued a hunter safety certificate, and using a lawful firearm other than a handgun; or
- Under the supervision of a parent, guardian, or other adult approved for the purpose by the parent or guardian;
- Traveling with an unloaded firearm to or from any activity described above;
- On real property under the control of his or her parent, other relative, or legal guardian and has permission of the parent or legal guardian to possess a firearm;
- At his or her residence and, with the permission of his or her parent or legal guardian, in possession of a firearm for the purpose of lawful self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property; or
- A member of the armed forces of the United States, National Guard, or organized reserves, when on duty.6
Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.
See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Washington Initiative No. 1639, Section 13, amending Wash. Rev. Code Ann § 9.41.240(1).
- See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.050 or 9.41.060 for additional exceptions.
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.240.
- Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.41.240(3).
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.070(1)(c).
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii), 9.41.042.