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Effective December 5, 2014

What is DOL’s role in Initiative 594 – “Background Checks for Gun Sales and Transfers?”

Our role in the implementation of Initiative 594 is limited to record keeping requirements. The Department of Licensing’s (DOL) Firearms Program is only the record keeping authority, as noted in RCW 9.41 which is the Law Relating to Firearms and Dangerous Weapons. We’re responsible for maintaining many of the state’s firearms records, including:

  • firearm dealer licenses,
  • alien firearm licenses,
  • concealed pistol licenses,
  • ineligible to possess a firearm, and
  • pistol transfers and sales.

We can’t provide legal advice or help the public or licensed firearm dealers interpret the firearms statutes found in RCW 9.41 or I-594.

We’ll continue to provide guidance to the public and licensed firearms dealers about forms for pistol sales and transfers. We’ll also provide guidance on the process to notify us if you acquire a pistol upon the death of the prior owner.

Who licenses firearms?

Local Law Enforcement Agencies are responsible for licensing firearms and enforcing firearms laws. They process:

  • firearm licenses applications,
  • background checks, and
  • approval or denial of licenses.

Please contact your local law enforcement agency if you have questions about:

  • firearms licensure requirements,
  • clarification of definitions,
  • violations of the law, or
  • need additional information regarding exemptions.

What if I’m a business owner with questions about I-594?

We recommend you seek private legal advice for your business questions. We can’t provide legal advice or interpretation of I-594.

What if I have more questions or concerns?

For questions regarding federal firearms licenses or firearms transfers and sales in other states contact the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) at

To report possession or ownership of a pistol acquired upon the death of the prior owner after December 4, 2014, contact the Firearms Program at 360.664.6616 or email at

See also: RCW 9.41 or I-594

Concealed pistol license

Getting a concealed pistol license | Renewing your license | Frequently asked questions

Firearms dealer license

About firearms dealer licenses | Firearms Online | FAQ and dealer resources | Dealer license forms

Alien firearms license




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