Fact Sheet on Washington Gun Laws and Statistics on Gun Violence in Washington

For Release:  Wednesday, November 3, 1999

This fact sheet provides background information for journalists covering today’s shooting at a Seattle, Washington shipyard.

Washington Firearm Laws1

  • A “shall-issue” concealed handgun licensing system is in place under which applicants at least 21 years old with no criminal or mental disqualifiers must be issued a license to carry a concealed handgun “for the purpose of protection or while engaged in business, sport, or while traveling.” The license remains valid for five years.
  • No permit is required to purchase any firearm.
  • Persons between the ages of 18 and 21 may possess handguns “in the person’s place of abode, at the person’s fixed place of business, or on real property under his or her control.”
  • The State of Washington preempts municipalities and local entities from implementing gun laws that are stronger than state law.
  • A five day waiting period is in effect for handgun purchases. Holders of concealed handgun licenses are exempt from the waiting period.

Firearm-Related Death in Washington

  • In 1996 Washington ranked 35th in rate of firearm-related death, with a rate of 10.60 per 100,000. In 1996 the national rate of firearm-related death was 12.94 per 100,000.2
  • In 1996 Washington ranked 35th in rate of firearm-related homicide, with a rate of 2.89 per 100,000. In 1996 the national rate of firearm-related homicide was 6.02 per 100,000. 3
  • In 1996 Washington ranked 27th in rate of firearm-related suicide, with a rate of 7.41 per 100,000. In 1996 the national rate of firearm-related suicide was 6.29 per 100,000.4

 


1) Revised Code of Washington, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, State Laws and Published Ordinances, 1998 

2) National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality File 1996, accessed through the CDC Wonder system from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site at wonder.cdc.gov.

3) National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality File 1996, accessed through the CDC Wonder system from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site at wonder.cdc.gov.

4) National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality File 1996, accessed through the CDC Wonder system from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site at wonder.cdc.gov.

 

 

 

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