Updates: Firearms

Effective December 5, 2014

Initiative 594 – “Background Checks for Gun Sales and Transfers”

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. DOL is 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.

This program’s role in the implementation of Initiative 594 is limited to record keeping requirements. DOL cannot provide legal advice or help the public or licensed firearm dealers interpret the firearms statutes found in RCW 9.41 or I-594.

DOL will provide guidance to the public and licensed firearms dealers regarding forms and information required on forms for pistol sales and transfers. In addition, DOL will provide guidance on the process to notify DOL if a person intends to retain possession of a pistol resulting from the death of the prior owner.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are responsible for enforcing the firearms laws. They are the authorizing agencies for all firearms licenses including the firearm licenses application process, 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.

If you are a business owner with questions about the implementation I-594, we recommend you seek private legal advice for your business questions. The Firearms Program staff cannot provide legal advice or interpretation of I-594.

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.

Again, the Firearms Program staff cannot provide legal advice or help the public or licensed firearm dealers interpret the firearms statutes found in 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.

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