The Revised Code of Washington (§ 9.41.113) states that all gun sales and transfers require that, before the firearm can be transferred, a background check must be conducted on the purchaser/transferee. A private and unlicensed firearms dealer will need to contact a federally licensed dealer in order to request that the check be conducted through their systems. The licensed dealer will run the request through the NICS database to determine whether or not the transfer is allowed. If the purchase is permitted by NICS, or if ten (10) business days have passed since the check was submitted, the licensed dealer can then transfer the gun to the purchaser.

A private dealer is not required to conduct a background check if one (1) of the following circumstances applies:

  • The gun is a gift given to a family member
  • The gun is an antique
  • An individual requires a gun to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. The transfer is temporary and will last until the threat has been resolved (this does not apply if the individual is prohibited from purchasing a gun)
  • If a law enforcement agent or officer requires a weapon for employment purposes or official duties
  • A gun is being transferred to and from a federally licensed gunsmith for repairs
  • The gun is transferred between spouses or domestic partners
  • The purchaser has a concealed pistol licence which was issued on or after July 22, 2011

Bill of Sale – Used to record the sale price and party information when transferring a firearm.

Pistol Transfer Application – Required for the sale of a handgun.

For Sale of a Gun

Step 1 – In order to conduct a firearms background check, the dealer will be required to either contact an FBI NICS operator at 1 (877) 324 642, or perform the check online. An online check requires the creation of an account before accessing the system is possible. Commence the account creation process by navigating to this webpage and selecting the Agree button (highlighted below).

Step 2 – Here, the dealer is asked to supply their Federal Firearms License (FFL) information. In the empty spaces, enter the following:

  • FFL ID number
  • FFL code word
  • Name of FFL business
  • Street address of business
  • City
  • State or territory
  • Zip code
  • FFL business phone
  • Phone extension (optional)
  • Last name
  • Cadence (e.g. Jr., Sr.) (optional)
  • First name
  • Middle name (optional)
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Email address

Select the Registration button once all of the FFL information has been provided. Navigate through the subsequent pages to complete the account creation process.

Step 3 – Go to this webpage and enter the newly created username. Next, select either Password or Token to specify what piece of identification will be used to access the account. Click Sign In when ready to continue.

Step 4 – If “Password” was selected in the previous step, enter the answer to the challenge question in the empty field before clicking Yes or No to indicate whether or not the computer being used is shared. Click Next to proceed on to the subsequent pages where the sign-in process can be completed.

If “Token” was selected in the previous step, enter the token code in the empty field and click Token Sign In to access the account.

Step 5 – It will now be possible to conduct a background check using the FBI NICS E-Check system. After the query has been entered into their system, the dealer will be contacted by an NICS operator to be informed of whether they should proceed with sale, deny the individual from purchasing a firearm, or delay the process until further action is required.

Step 6 – If the purchaser of a pistol is deemed safe to obtain the weapon, the dealer must download and complete a Pistol Transfer Application. This step is not necessary when transferring a shotgun or rifle.

Step 7 – Once the form has been filled in with a description of the firearm and the buyer and seller information, it can be mailed to the Department of Licensing, Firearms Section, at P.O. Box 9649, Olympia, WA 98507-9649.

Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) License

Step 1 – A concealed carry weapon (CCW) license is required for anyone who carries with them a concealed pistol or places a loaded pistol inside their vehicle. The purchaser must complete the Concealed Pistol License Application and bring it to a local law enforcement agency (see Office Locator).

Step 2 – Once the form has been delivered to a local agency or office, the requestor will be asked to pay a $48 fee as well as provide valid photo ID. The requestor must then have their fingerprints taken by an agent or officer which will allow a background check to be conducted. It may take anywhere from thirty (30) to sixty (60) days for the agency or office to run the background check and issue the license.