A: Here's information from the King County Sheriff's Office:
RCW 9.41.270 provides that it is unlawful for a person to carry, exhibit, display or draw any firearm in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons. A violation is a gross misdemeanor.
This statute is very fact-specific, but in general, merely walking around in public with the gun properly secured in an exposed holster does not constitute a violation.
A court will consider "time, place, manner" factors, such as the time of day
, whether the area is residential, urban or countryside
, the manner in which the weapon is being carried, the size and type of weapon, whether the clip is visibly attached
, high-crime area
, whether the person waved it around, tossed it when stopped, etc.
. . .
What might be acceptable behavior on a country road in hunting season would be cause for alarm in an urban residential neighborhood in a high crime area at night. Nonetheless, again typically carrying a properly holstered gun openly will not pass sufficient muster for a violation.