Updates: Firearms

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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 www.atf.gov.

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 firearms@dol.wa.gov.

See also: RCW 9.41 or I-594

Firearms Online

This allows firearm dealers to submit all required forms and information to us electronically. For more information, see Firearms Online.

Important notice to firearms dealers

We continually solicit firearms dealers’ assistance to ensure the Application to Transfer Pistol forms are completed thoroughly, accurately, and legibly so they can be entered accurately into the Firearms Database. It is equally important for the firearms dealer to forward the completed forms to the appropriate law enforcement agency and our Firearms Section within the time specified by law.

In an effort to ensure all licensees have the information they need to properly complete and submit the forms required to meet state and federal standards, we will be reviewing training opportunities for dealers and will continue to provide technical assistance through clarification of procedures. We continue to look for efficiencies and process improvements in the Firearms Program.

We welcome your comments on how we may effectively deliver services to you and meet your business needs.

Related information

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