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Thread: Open Carry FAQ's

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    FOR THE NEW FOLKS, WHETHER YOU OPEN OR CONCEAL CARRY THE OFF-LIMIT LOCATIONS ARE THE SAME.

    The original thread got lost in the last forum outage. Check for the <edit> at the bottom for the latest update. I have condensed and combined some of the questions to create a OC FAQ pamphlet to hand out at the gun shows. A copy can be download from: http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?act...;sa=view;id=65

    Thanks to Steve and Gray for putting this together....

    1) Where can I carry in Washington? Washington State follows British legal tradition, which states that anything that is not proscribed as unlawful is lawful. So the real question is; where can you NOT carry in Washington? There are four main state statutes that one must be cognizant of: RCW 9.41.050 (Carrying Firearms), RCW 9.41.280 (Carry on School Grounds), RCW 9.41.300 (Weapons Prohibited in Certain Places), and RCW 70.108.150 (Firearms in Outdoor Music Festivals). It is your responsibility to read and understand the definitions and exceptions in the law. RCW 9.41.050 is the primary law which affects gun carrying on a day to day basis. This law makes it unlawful for one to conceal a pistol without a concealed pistol license (hereinafter called CPL), and also makes it unlawful for one to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle, whether it be openly carried or concealed carried unless a person has a valid CPL(see RCW 9.41.060 on Exceptions). Loaded is defined as having ammunition inside of the gun itself (magazine inserted with ammunition with semi-auto, ammunition in cylinder for revolvers). Localities may also prohibit the carrying of handguns in the stadiums and convention centers that they operate, however they MUST exempt those who possess a concealed pistol license. There are also federal statutes you must be cognizant of: 18 USC 922 (q), which prohibit the carrying of a handgun within 1000 feet of a school unless you are licensed to carry or meet another exemption to this law. The constitutionality of this law is questionable in light of United States v. Lopez and District of Columbia v. Heller. To our knowledge, there has been no prosecutions of this law where this is the sole charge. 18 USC 930, which prohibit the carrying of firearms in any "federal facility" or any "federal court facility."

    2) What is "Warranting alarm", why do people (firearms instructors, police officers, gun shop employees) say that this law makes it illegal t o open carry? In 1969, RCW 9.41.270 was passed in light of the intimidating actions of the Black Panther Party in both the State of California and in Seattle. Analysis of the legislative intent behind the bill and final law indicated that the Washington State Legislature never intended this to be a gun control bill, and stripped out in committee provisions of the bill which would have prohibited carry within 500 feet of any "public building" for fear it would ensnare a peaceable open carrier walking nearby, thereby violating a persons rights under Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution. This is not to say that all forms of open carry are lawful. The key word is "peaceable". If your pistol is in a holster, and you're generally not touching it or making gripping movements (except of course, in an actual act of self defense), or opening a coat to expose your pistol to intimidate someone to do something, then the current body of case law (state v casad, state v. spencer) generally makes such carry lawful.

    3) Can I open carry on a Bus, Train, Ferry, Personal Auto, Motorcycle or Bicycle? (RCW 9.91.025) The right to carry a gun or ammunition in a fashion is not otherwise prohibited by law on a MUNICIPAL TRANSIT VEHICLE (Greyhound /Amtrak is not a municipal transit vehicle). Busses, Trains & the Ferries are considered vehicles in Washington. You may carry loaded either openly or concealed in or on any vehicle if you possess a CPL.

    4) Can I carry in a bank, grocery store, church? They are all private property and may impose their own rules. The Federal Government may own shares of a bank but they DO NOT function as Federal Property.

    5) Can I carry at or near a school? Or College? (RCW 9.41.280)
    If you have a valid CPL and are picking up or dropping off a student you are allowed on the school grounds. Firearms are not permitted in school buildings. Colleges set their own policies, most of which seem to ban lawfully carried guns. South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia is the only college in this state we know of that does not specifically ban lawfully carried guns from their campus.

    6) I saw a park sign saying no firearms. Is that legal in Washington? (RCW 9.41.290) No. Washington State has preempted all firearms laws regarding possession. You may carry in any city, county, state, National Forest or National Park in Washington State.

    7) Can I carry with a round in the chamber? Or have to use a certain holster? There is no state or Federal law which proscribes carrying with a round in the chamber other than the normal "loaded" definition (RCW 77.15.460) and the laws that regulate loaded carry. It is suggested that your holster choice have some form of retention.

    8) How old do you have to be to carry a loaded handgun? (RCW 9.41.240) You must be 21 years of age to carry a loaded handgun in public. See RCW 9.41.060 for exceptions.

    9)What states accept the Washington CPL?
    AK, AR, AZ, FL, ID, IN, KY, LA, MI, MS, MT, MO, NC, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT

    10) Can I carry in a bar? (RCW 9.41.300) No. You cannot carry in a place where alcohol is consumed AND is off limits to persons under 21. Restaurants that serve alcohol are fine as well are the state run liquor stores.

    11) Where can I get information about firearms & licensing in Washington state?
    http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/index.html

    12) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when? The law is somewhat vague, but essentially IF you are required to have a CPL in your possession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded in/on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though.

    No license is needed to open carry however it is highly recommended that any person who open carries in the State of Washington acquire a CPL. Washington is a “Shall Issue” state for CPL’s. Meaning that if you have no background issues you will be issued a license within 30days(resident) and 90 days(non-resident) by law.

    13) Is there an Open Carry pamphlet?
    Yes. A copy can be downloaded here: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/attachment.php?id=10415

    14) FOIA Letter Generator for Federal & State
    http://www.rcfp.org/foialetter/index.php

    15) Is there a list of stores (with email & letterhead) that allow lawful carry?
    http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?action=downloads;cat=5


    This document is in no way legal advice. Consult an attorney on legal matters.




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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though. Essentially I would produce to people such as cops or transit operators if the CPL is required by them to verify my legal status to carry the gun.
    Hey as long as this thread is starting over, this one's always kinda irked me. A transit operator doesn't have legal authority to compel a passenger to do anything, even produce ID. It's not our place to ensure passengers are complying with any laws.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Added number 24 -

    24) FOIA Letter Generator for Federal & State
    http://www.rcfp.org/foialetter/index.php


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    Does anyone know if Tasers are prohibited in bars as well?

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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Does anyone know if Tasers are prohibited in bars as well?
    I find no state law that prohibits it but there may be local laws that do. Tasers should have state pre-emption in my opinion. The local municipalities should not be able to restrict them because there are people that do not want to carry a firearm and are now not able to carry a non-lethal defense tool.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Does anyone know if Tasers are prohibited in bars as well?
    I find no state law that prohibits it but there may be local laws that do. Tasers should have state pre-emption in my opinion. The local municipalities should not be able to restrict them because there are people that do not want to carry a firearm and are now not able to carry a non-lethal defense tool.
    According to handgunlaw.us the only restriction on tasers in WA is in Bellingham. The result of a Bellingham PD beat cop getting tased.

    ETA: No less, it was a 98# girl that dropped the cop!!!
    I am the person responsible for myself, my wife and my son. I take that VERY seriously.

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    tyguy808 wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Does anyone know if Tasers are prohibited in bars as well?
    I find no state law that prohibits it but there may be local laws that do. Tasers should have state pre-emption in my opinion. The local municipalities should not be able to restrict them because there are people that do not want to carry a firearm and are now not able to carry a non-lethal defense tool.
    According to handgunlaw.us the only restriction on tasers in WA is in Bellingham. The result of a Bellingham PD beat cop getting tased.

    ETA: No less, it was a 98# girl that dropped the cop!!!
    Nice that they use one instance to further disarm persons in their jurisdiction. Hopefully they charged the gal with assaulting a peace officer.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    I can't remember the incident but I do know Bellingham PD, I am not going to judge the girl first. She might have been justified.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    added line number 25

    25) Is there a list of stores (with email & letterhead) that allow lawful carry?
    http://forum.nwcdl.org/index.php?action=downloads;cat=5

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Julian wrote:
    so without a cpl can i open carry
    Yes, Open carry is legal in Washington without a CPL. However to carry a loaded handgun in your car you need a CPL. To carry a loaded handgun in Washington, in public you must be 21 (there are a few exceptions).



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    M1Gunr wrote:
    Julian wrote:
    so without a cpl can i open carry
    Yes, Open carry is legal in Washington without a CPL. However to carry a loaded handgun in your car you need a CPL. To carry a loaded handgun in Washington, in public you must be 21 (there are a few exceptions).

    Just for clarification you need a CPL to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    21) Who am I required to show my CPL to, and when?
    The law is somewhat vague, and the wording even worse, but essentially if you are required to have a CPL in your possession, you are obligated to produce it to qualified persons (such as law enforcement) if they demand it. Also since you have to have a CPL to carry loaded on a vehicle, regardless of OC or CC, I would argue a transit vehicle operator might also want to see a CPL before allowing you on the vehicle. There are no firm rules or laws on this matter that I am aware of though. Essentially I would produce to people such as cops or transit operators if the CPL is required by them to verify my legal status to carry the gun.


    Do you have to show CPL to security gaurds?


    Edited for side note: you guys did a great job on this...
    If you voted for Obama to prove you are not a racist...
    what will you do now to prove you are not stupid?

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Do you have to show CPL to security guards?

    I never do

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    joeroket wrote:
    M1Gunr wrote:
    Julian wrote:
    so without a cpl can i open carry
    Yes, Open carry is legal in Washington without a CPL. However to carry a loaded handgun in your car you need a CPL. To carry a loaded handgun in Washington, in public you must be 21 (there are a few exceptions).

    Just for clarification you need a CPL to carry a loaded pistol in any vehicle.
    Or on....e.g. motorcycles.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Or on....e.g. motorcycles.
    <edit> fixed this line..


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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    How the PI answered the question: http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911...ves/182116.asp



    Q: I have a concealed-weapons license and can carry a handgun on my person concealed. Can I carry the same firearm "open" and not have to worry about someone calling the police on me?

    I've heard that Washington has a "open-carry" law that doesn't require any license as long as the firearm is within full view on a person. Is this true?

    If someone sees me carrying a firearm am I in possible trouble with the law?

    And pertaining to concealment: If I conceal a firearm on my person but you can see the outline of the gun is this cause for concern or is it OK as long as it's "concealed?"

    A: Here's information from the King County Sheriff's Office:

    Washington is an "open- carry" state. That means a person may openly carry a firearm (pistol, rifle or shotgun) in public without a concealed-pistol license.

    Of course, as with any other "right" there are exceptions. A firearm may not be taken into a courtroom, jail, school, bar or parts of airports, for example.

    In addition, there may be limits as to age, felon, DV conviction, protection order, or specific court order. …



    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.

    In State v. Spencer, the court … upheld a conviction for RCW 9.41.270 when the person carried an AK-47 with the clip attached on the person's shoulder at 10 p.m., while walking briskly through a residential area with his head down and avoiding eye contact.

    In State v. Mitchell, officers on night patrol saw the defendant and a companion walking down the street in a residential area in Seattle. The defendant was carrying a semi-automatic handgun and as officers passed, they observed him tuck it into his waistband. When the officers stopped them, the defendant tossed the gun into the bushes. The court held that openly carrying such a weapon at night in an urban residential area was sufficient to warrant reasonable suspicion that the crime of unlawful display of a firearm was being committed.

    In State v. Craig, the court held that an eyewitness testimony that a person driving by in a car pointing a gun at the witness was sufficient to support a finding that officers had probable cause to believe that the person committed the crime of unlawfully displaying (a) weapon.

    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.

    RCW 9.41.230 prohibits a person from aiming any firearm, whether loaded or not, at or towards a human being. It also prohibits willfully discharging a firearm in a public place or in any place where a person might be endangered. Public places do not include locations where it discharging firearms is authorized.

    RCW 9.41.250 prohibits "furtively carrying with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol or other dangerous weapon."

    While "open carry" is legal in public, private property is a different matter.

    Private property owners may limit individuals' right to carry on their property. This includes quasi-public property such as shopping malls, restaurants and retail stores.

    The notice may take two forms. First, if a property is clearly marked with very visible signs at all entrances that say "No Firearms Allowed," then it is illegal to bring a firearm onto the property, with or without a CPL. The crime would be trespass.

    If there is no signage and the person with the weapon is asked to leave by the owner or agent and the person refuses, (deputies) can also use the trespass statute. …

    State law controls this area of the law and preempts local jurisdictions from passing more restrictive laws on carrying firearms.

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    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.
    Just remember the Coast Guard do run under way diferant rules. Unlike state and local law enforcement they do not need a reason other than Oficer Saftey to dis-arm or even cuff you. They will tell you that you are not being detained but you are being restrained for Oficer Saftey. Check out 14 U.S.C. § 89

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Semper Paratus wrote:
    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.
    Just remember the Coast Guard do run under way diferant rules. Unlike state and local law enforcement they do not need a reason other than Oficer Saftey to dis-arm or even cuff you. They will tell you that you are not being detained but you are being restrained for Oficer Saftey. Check out
    14 U.S.C. § 89
    So you are saying Coast Gaurd can randomly violate our 4th amendment rights?

    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Semper Paratus wrote:
    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.
    *Just remember the Coast Guard do run under way diferant rules. Unlike state and local law enforcement they do not need a reason other than Oficer Saftey to dis-arm or even cuff you. They will tell you that you are not being detained but you are being restrained for Oficer Saftey. Check out 14 U.S.C. § 89
    Since when does the USCG enforce local law?
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    Semper Paratus wrote:
    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.
    Just remember the Coast Guard do run under way diferant rules. Unlike state and local law enforcement they do not need a reason other than Oficer Saftey to dis-arm or even cuff you. They will tell you that you are not being detained but you are being restrained for Oficer Saftey. Check out
    14 U.S.C. § 89
    Since when does the USCG enforce local law?
    Like any vessel the State ferrys operate under Federal laws. The CG enforces Federal laws on navigable water ways. The CG has multi-faceted jurisdictional authority. The specific statutory authority for the Coast Guard Law Enforcement mission is given in 14 USC 2,

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Semper Paratus wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    Semper Paratus wrote:
    22) Can I carry on the Washington State Ferry System?
    Yes. The Ferries are not one of the off limits place to lawful carry. They are an extension of the state highway system, and are state owned. Like any vessel they are also operating under Federal laws, and sometimes are escorted by, or have Coast Guard officers on board. The US Coast Guard is not in the business of enforcing state laws, but are only concerned with Federal laws. Generally the Washington State Patrol provides law enforcement on board the Washington State Ferry System.
    Just remember the Coast Guard do run under way diferant rules. Unlike state and local law enforcement they do not need a reason other than Oficer Saftey to dis-arm or even cuff you. They will tell you that you are not being detained but you are being restrained for Oficer Saftey. Check out
    14 U.S.C. § 89
    Since when does the USCG enforce local law?
    Like any vessel the State ferrys operate under Federal laws. The CG enforces Federal laws on navigable water ways. The CG has multi-faceted jurisdictional authority. The specific statutory authority for the Coast Guard Law Enforcement mission is given in 14 USC 2,
    But, the ferrys are also an extension of the state highway system, thereby putting them under the jurisdiction of the State Patrol.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    Yeah, I'm not sure how any Federal Law would be put into play here, considering the Ferry's are apart of the State, and only cruise through state waters - not the ocean.

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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    Yeah, I'm not sure how any Federal Law would be put into play here, considering the Ferry's are apart of the State, and only cruise through state waters - not the ocean.
    USCG does have jurisdiction over the vessels. Primarily for Federal Code and it is unlikely that they would enforce any RCW. However, let's say there was a terrorist or other Federal threat, they would detain passengers. They can also assist requests from State Patrol. Unlikely to encounter USCG but possible.
    Live Free or Die!

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    I always see State Patrol on board Ferries

  25. #25
    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    I actually see more CG than WSP on the Mukilteo run. Lots of State Patrol doing their thing at the docks (love the officer with the black lab who's always playing with him between runs), occasionally see CG on board or "escorting" on some enormous RIFs. What gogodawgs said makes sense.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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