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Thread: What are Washington's "Open Carry" laws for rifles?

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    Just curious, but say for some reason or another I decide to carry a rifle openly. For example, going hunting and I stop in to a place to buy something, and just happen to bring my hunting rifle on my back.

    I know Washington allows open carry of pistols, but I haven't been able to find anything specific about rifles.

    Is there any specific laws I should know about, or is it lumped under the laws for open carrying a pistol?

    Thanks.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    There are no laws about open carry. It's legal because it's not illegal. You can't carry into certain places and loaded carry in a car is a no-no. But OC is legal with pistols and rifles.

    However, depending on the circumstances, count on talking to the police.

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    Okay, thanks for the info.

    I have a CPL in Washington so that's not a problem, and I'm familiar to the laws. Was just making sure it was the same for a rifle.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member swatspyder's Avatar
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    killchain wrote:
    Okay, thanks for the info.

    I have a CPL in Washington so that's not a problem, and I'm familiar to the laws. Was just making sure it was the same for a rifle.
    It is not exactly the same. Loaded carry of a pistol in a vehicle is okay so long as you have your CPL. Loaded carry of a rifle is NOT okay with or without a CPL.

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    I understand, I wouldn't carry a loaded rifle.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    It was just a question. It's been answered now.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Regular Member kwiebe's Avatar
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    swatspyder wrote
    It is not exactly the same. Loaded carry of a pistol in a vehicle is okay so long as you have your CPL. Loaded carry of a rifle is NOT okay with or without a CPL.
    Can you cite a statute to support the loaded rifle claim?

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    RCW 77.15.460
    Loaded firearm in vehicle — Unlawful use or possession — Penalty.
    (1) A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle if:

    (a) The person carries, transports, conveys, possesses, or controls a rifle or shotgun in or on a motor vehicle; and

    (b) The rifle or shotgun contains shells or cartridges in the magazine or chamber, or is a muzzle-loading firearm that is loaded and capped or primed.

    (2) A person is guilty of unlawful use of a loaded firearm if the person negligently shoots a firearm from, across, or along the maintained portion of a public highway.

    (3) Unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle or unlawful use of a loaded firearm is a misdemeanor.

    (4) This section does not apply if the person:

    (a) Is a law enforcement officer who is authorized to carry a firearm and is on duty within the officer's respective jurisdiction;

    (b) Possesses a disabled hunter's permit as provided by RCW 77.32.237 and complies with all rules of the department concerning hunting by persons with disabilities.

    (5) For purposes of this section, a firearm shall not be considered loaded if the detachable clip or magazine is not inserted in or attached to the firearm.



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    (2) A person is guilty of unlawful use of a loaded firearm if the person negligently shoots a firearm from, across, or along the maintained portion of a public highway

    have they sen the roads nowadays? dont think any are maintained

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    Regular Member kwiebe's Avatar
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    Boo Boo wrote:
    (2) A person is guilty of unlawful use of a loaded firearm if the person negligently shoots a firearm from, across, or along the maintained portion of a public highway

    have they sen the roads nowadays? dont think any are maintained
    True. In effect this makes the entire City of Tacoma legal to discharge a firearm.

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    You must unload the rifle or shotgun. before entering a vehicle. For this reason I rarely carry one. The only people I've seen carrying long guns were way out in the woods.

    I would strongly advise against carrying one into a store or near any heavily populated area.

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    I was once advised by a Game Officer that even setting a loaded rifle in the bed of my Pickup would qualify as placing it in the vehicle.

    Some have even been warned that leading your rifle against the vehicle qualifies, but I don't see how they could make that one stick.

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    I have a question about terminology.

    Consider a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun. Several shells can be inserted into the firearm, and are loaded as the pump action is worked (a used shell is expelled and a fresh one racked into the firing position).

    Is that considered "loaded" for the purposes of the statute -- i.e., is the storage area a "chamber" or "magazine"?

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    tai4de2 wrote:
    I have a question about terminology.

    Consider a pump-action 12-gauge shotgun. Several shells can be inserted into the firearm, and are loaded as the pump action is worked (a used shell is expelled and a fresh one racked into the firing position).

    Is that considered "loaded" for the purposes of the statute -- i.e., is the storage area a "chamber" or "magazine"?
    It's a 'fixed' magazine, so yes, it is considered loaded.
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    I have a question regarding this topic - Why is it that the topic of "Firearms and dangerous weapons" is covered in Title 9 (chapter 9.41), and yet rifles/shotguns (also "firearms") in a vehicle are not mentioned here, but instead in Title 77 - "Fish and wildlife"? (chapter 77.15.460)

    Is there some logic behind this? I don't fish or hunt, and I would not normally assume that a section of code specifically titled "Fish and wildlife" would contain applicable code that applies to me (not being a hunter, fisherman or poacher etc.), that I would not find in the subject-relevant Title 9 chapter 9.41. I guess the division of information is what stumps me, and also I don't understand what my shotgun has to do with "Fish and wildlife", being that I don't own a shotgun for hunting or fishing...

    I also think it odd the distinctions within the content of the codes, but not the titles -

    For example, 9.41.050 is titled "Carrying firearms", yet it only refers to pistols, likewise, 77.15 is titled "Fish and wildlife enforcement code", and 77.15.460 is titled "Loaded firearm in vehicle — Unlawful use or possession — Penalty.", yet speaks specifically about rifles and shotguns only - not pistols - and it inherits a prefix of "Fish and wildlife enforcement code".

    So I guess I don't understand why are these broken out into 2 very separate sections, one with a very relevant title, the other with (what I think is) an irrelevant title ("Fish and wildlife enforcement code" vs. "Firearms and dangerous weapons"). I find this confusing and counter-intuitive. (I know, like most gun related legislation!)

    This makes sense:
    "RCWs" -> "Crimes and punishments" -> "Firearms and dangerous weapons." -> "Carrying firearms."

    This makes zero sense:
    "RCWs" -> "Fish and wildlife (formerly: game and game fish)" -> "Fish and wildlife enforcement code." -> "Loaded firearm in vehicle -- Unlawful use or possession -- Penalty."

    That is, it makes no sense that the information contained in title 77.15.460 is not present in title 9.41.050

    Does anyone have some insight into this?

    Link to RCW: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=77


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    killchain wrote:
    Just curious, but say for some reason or another I decide to carry a rifle openly. For example, going hunting and I stop in to a place to buy something, and just happen to bring my hunting rifle on my back.

    I know Washington allows open carry of pistols, but I haven't been able to find anything specific about rifles.

    Is there any specific laws I should know about, or is it lumped under the laws for open carrying a pistol?

    Thanks.
    Killchain, please read up on Washington state Vs. Spencer. Spencer was walking down the street walking his dog and carrying a rifle in a sling over his shoulder. A CPL holder, Spencer was bothering no one just walking. A lady passer-by notices his rifle and goes to ask some firemen she see's a couple of houses away. She asks...they dont know why he is carrying a rifle. They call the police. Long story short Mr. Spencer goes to jail, guns go into police storage and rust.

    Might be best to keep your long gun cased. Walking into a business or store with an uncased gun is bound to cause alarm. Unless of course if they know you.

    Anyhow that is the only info I could find, hope it helps

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    read spencer closer! he violated rcw 9.41.270, because he was carrying his rifle "in an assultive manner". he looked like a dangerous guy with his gun!

    state v cassad showes that it is legal to carry long guns in the open and not violate the law!
    EMNofSeattle wrote: Your idea of freedom terrifies me. So you are actually right. I am perfectly happy with what you call tyranny.....

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    I did not know that slung over your shoulder in a sling was assaultive.

    If you read the state vs. Cassad, The guns were partially covered, in particular the actions were covered by the cloth he wrapped them in. Therfore non-assaultive. not provoking fear even though a lady called the police to report A man with a gun.......


    edit. Thanks Lt for the shortcuts, thats part of the story I was trying not to be to long winded, gave just enough to hope he would read it for himself

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    dan10mmman wrote:
    killchain wrote:
    Just curious, but say for some reason or another I decide to carry a rifle openly. For example, going hunting and I stop in to a place to buy something, and just happen to bring my hunting rifle on my back.

    I know Washington allows open carry of pistols, but I haven't been able to find anything specific about rifles.

    Is there any specific laws I should know about, or is it lumped under the laws for open carrying a pistol?

    Thanks.
    Killchain, please read up on Washington state Vs. Spencer. Spencer was walking down the street walking his dog and carrying a rifle in a sling over his shoulder. A CPL holder, Spencer was bothering no one just walking. A lady passer-by notices his rifle and goes to ask some firemen she see's a couple of houses away. She asks...they dont know why he is carrying a rifle. They call the police. Long story short Mr. Spencer goes to jail, guns go into police storage and rust.

    Might be best to keep your long gun cased. Walking into a business or store with an uncased gun is bound to cause alarm. Unless of course if they know you.

    Anyhow that is the only info I could find, hope it helps
    Spencer was carrying the gun leveled and simultaneously was carrying a pistol. Hence, he could not claim it was for self defense. If he carried only the rifle, and carrying it such that it was not muzzle at whoever was in front of him, he might have had a better case.
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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Since we're on the subject, has anyone ON THIS FORUM or with direct knowlegede of another (IE, you know the fellow, not a friend of a friend, etc), ever actually OC'd with a rifle? Is there any first-hand experience of the topic in our large knowledge base here?

    Weather's starting to get crummy now, but once or twice I've thought about strapping my M91 on, hopping on my motorcycle & heading down to the Central Whidbey range, but I don't want to be the test case here
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    I carry my unloaded rifles to my truck all the time from my house. Is my AR-15 considered "assaultive" because it falls in the EBR category? :shock:
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    2, 4, 5 A defender wrote:
    read spencer closer! he violated rcw 9.41.270, because he was carrying his rifle "in an assultive manner". he looked like a dangerous guy with his gun!

    state v cassad showes that it is legal to carry long guns in the open and not violate the law!
    With that definition anyone carrying a holstered handgun could be considered "assultive" depending on who saw it. I have even herd the phrase "assult pistol" from the media before
    "Fight like you train, train like you fight"

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    gsx1138 wrote:
    I carry my unloaded rifles to my truck all the time from my house. Is my AR-15 considered "assaultive" because it falls in the EBR category? :shock:
    No its because its black :P The media seems to have a thing for black guns *shakes head*
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    fire suppressor wrote:
    2, 4, 5 A defender wrote:
    read spencer closer! he violated rcw 9.41.270, because he was carrying his rifle "in an assultive manner". he looked like a dangerous guy with his gun!

    state v cassad showes that it is legal to carry long guns in the open and not violate the law!
    With that definition anyone carrying a holstered handgun could be considered "assultive" depending on who saw it. I have even herd the phrase "assult pistol" from the media before
    you must read spencer carefully!, to understand that his AK or AR was carried "at the ready" slung from his shoulder, with the but at his shoulder and the gun pointed out in front of him, with his hands gripping the stock, ready to point and shoot!!

    not the same as cassad, carrying guns cradled in his arms like fire wood.

    and nothing like a holstered gun.
    EMNofSeattle wrote: Your idea of freedom terrifies me. So you are actually right. I am perfectly happy with what you call tyranny.....

    “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

    Stand up for your Rights,, They have no authority on their own...

    All power is inherent in the people,
    it is their right and duty to be at all times ARMED!

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    I beg to differ. I found no description as you state. nowhere does it state Spencers hands were on the rifle. You quote Wa Vs. Cassad. A felon in possesion of firearms, and that is O.K. with you? A Veteran walking his dog and slinging his rifle over his shoulder should be jailed? Maybe he just carried thr wrong gun? Maybe he wanted to know if the Second Ammendment means what it says? Maybe he wanted to know how much the media has clouded the minds of the average American?

    I digress...perhaps I shall find Spencer and ask him personally

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