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Open carry in WA banned from 1994 to 97?


Regular Member
Aug 7, 2012
S. Kitsap, Washington state
I was thumbing through the newest edition of WAC's gun news magazine, and something caught my eye, so on page 4 Joe Waldron is writing about SWATTING and OC, and he wrote this

"Next stop police lobbying to ban open carry. This is exactly how Washington lost open carry from 1994 to 1997: Seattle PD citing a single incident of legitimate open carry, by a very vocal complaining citizen, to convince the legislature to ban that which had been legal since (and probably before) statehood. It took gun lobbyists and a republican majority in both chambers of the legislature, three years to reverse that ill-advised law"

I am not aware of this type of law being passed, does anyone have more details on this?


Regular Member
Jan 12, 2010
Poulsbo, Kitsap County, Washington, USA

I did a bit of research this afternoon and listed the chronological changes to 9.41.050, carrying firearms.

At the bottom of the RCW there is a list of changes made since 1935. I have attached a PDF of the changes listed for each session. I did not see an open carry restriction but there is something interesting added in 1996.

>(7) Any city, town, or county may enact an ordinance to exempt itself from the prohibition of subsection (4) of this section.<

Subsection 4 starts...
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person may carry a firearm unless it is unloaded and enclosed in an opaque case or secure wrapper or the person is:
(a) Licensed under RCW 9.41.070 to carry a concealed pistol;
(b) In attendance at a hunter's safety course or a firearms safety course;..........(see attached pdf for more).

WOW !!

This was subsequently removed in 1997 and morphed into what we have today.

ETA: The following link is the legislation that got us to this.
It is interesting to note the governors veto message; Public safety demands stringent control over these dangerous weapons, with few and carefully tailored exceptions.
And the governors agenda, page 3.

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