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Washington imposes a 10 day waiting period on the sales and transfers of “semiautomatic assault rifles.”1

While not a mandatory waiting period, Washington allows ten days to complete a background check on a prospective purchaser prior to delivery of other firearms.2 If, however, an applicant has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest, the dealer must hold the delivery of the handgun until the warrant is served and satisfied by appropriate court appearance.3 Where local law enforcement discovers open criminal charges, pending criminal or commitment proceedings, or an arrest or outstanding warrant for an offense making a person ineligible to possess a handgun, if the records of disposition have not yet been reported or entered sufficiently to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun, the local jurisdiction may hold the sale and delivery of a handgun up to 30 days in order to confirm existing records in Washington or elsewhere.4 After 30 days, the sale or delivery may proceed unless an extension is approved by a local district court or municipal court after a showing of good cause.5

In 2019, Washington conditionally repealed6 section 9.41.090(1)(a) that allowed individuals with concealed carry permits to take possession of handguns in spite of the ten-day period to complete a background check as specified above. Dealers in Washington are still required, under federal law, to wait a minimum of three days before transferring a firearm to a purchaser if a background check has not cleared7.


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  1. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.092.[]
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.092.[]
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(3). Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(4) (Effective July 2019).[]
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(4). Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(5) (Effective July 2019).[]
  5. Id.[]
  6. 2019 WA HB 1465 states “

    Section 1 of this act expires June 30, 2022, if the contingency in subsection (2) of this section does not occur by December 31, 2021, as determined by the Washington state patrol.

    (2) Section 1 of this act expires six months after the date on which the Washington state patrol determines that a single point of contact firearm background check system, for purposes of the federal Brady handgun violence prevention act (18 U.S.C. Sec. 921 et seq.), is operational in the state.

    (3) If section 1 of this act expires pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, the Washington state patrol must provide written notice of the expiration to the chief clerk of the house of representatives, the secretary of the senate, the office of the code reviser, and others as deemed appropriate by the Washington state patrol.[]

  7. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1).[]