compmanio365 wrote:Hi there, I just purchased my first handgun today (a Hi-Point .45ACP) and since this is my first pistol, I would like to know about people's opinions and what the law really is on open carry, concealed carry and the like. It is a large gun, so concealed carry may not be a realistic option; I will have to try different things once I actually get it on the 1st of next month (darn waiting period!! ).
- I take Sound Transit to and from work each day; I work in the downtown Seattle area right around King Street Station and I wish I could carry while there, but I'm not sure if it is allowed to bring a firearm on the train, concealed or otherwise.
- Is it legal to open carry a firearm loaded? I was always under the idea that you had to carry it unloaded unless you had a concealed carry permit.
- Should I bother paying the $60 to get a concealed permit, even if I end up not using it for this gun? Is there that much trouble when you open carry?
- Which would you rather do: carry open or concealed?I'll try to answer your questions individually:I know these probably seem like rather simple questions, but I have looked and looked on Pierce County's website as well as elsewhere for answers, and all I get is conflicting statements depending on where I look, and no definitive answers. I want to carry my pistol with me for self defense (duh, having it sitting at home if I had to defend myself (gods forbid...) while I am out does me little good), but I don't want to be arrested or hassled ceaselessly if I am out and someone freaks or the Tacoma PD (which are jerks anyhow) thinks I'm a "danger to the public" because I'm open carrying.
1) Yes you can bring a firearm onto the Sounder Train, and carry at the Sounder portion of the King Street Station terminal. For carrying a loaded pistol on the train, however, because it is a "vehicle", you need a concealed pistol license. Same for a bus or a private automobile.
2) You are partially correct. You need a concealed pistol license to carry loaded in "any vehicle". There used to be an "open carry ban" that existed between 1994 and 1997, but that was repealed by Session Law 97-200.
3) Yes it is worth getting a CPL, if only to not have to unload whenever you get into any vehicle. It also exempts you from the 5 day waiting period. I personally believe that it's quite silly for someone to open carry without a CPL due to the nature of the loaded firearm in vehicle law.
4) I prefer carrying openly. However, at this time, I would not recommend carrying openly in downtown Seattle...yet.
I am still working on getting Seattle PD and Sound Transit on the ball on this issue, however it's slow going due to the largess of their bureaucracies. Seattle PD's operators continually try to route my calls to the recruiting officer when I ask for training, and getting any information about who issues training advisories is like pulling teeth. My next weekday off, I plan to go to Seattle PD's HQ (I will be unarmed, just in case I get asked to go into a restricted access area) and basically show the bulletins and ask them this question: "Who issues these bulletins for Seattle PD?!". I've had enough of phone operators at Seattle PD. They are beyond incompetent.
Sound Transit is still being worked on. Before I started about two years ago on transit agency firearms issues, every transit agency in the Central Puget Sound had a "No weapons or firearms" passenger conduct rule except for King County Metro (which followed state law). Now, Sound Transit stands as the only agency left that still has that written rule, though I have an email from their General Counsel stating that they are aware that carry is legal on their buses and other vehicles with a CPL, and other properties without a CPL.
As is stated on OpenCarry.org's main page for Washington, we are still in the process of educating the LEO agencies on the legality of open carry. Significant progress was made in the Puget Sound region. If you have a specific incident by officers of Tacoma PD (which issued a training advisory on this issue in 1997), please PM me the following information:
Where did the incident occur?
What method of open carrying was used?
Who were the officers involved?
When did the incident occur?