Initiative 1639, which became effective Washington in 2019, allows a gun owner to be charged with a crime if a prohibited person gains access to their firearm and performs a further act with the gun. If the prohibited person causes injury or death with the firearm, the gun owner can be charged with a felony. if the prohibited person carries the gun in public, causes it to discharge, or commits a crime with the firearm, the owner can be charged with a gross misdemeanor.
What does safe storage mean?
The owner of a firearm cannot be convicted if the illegally accessed firearm was: 1.) in secure gun storage; or, 2.) secured with a trigger lock or similar device that is designed to prevent the unauthorized use or discharge of the firearm.
Secure gun storage means:
(a) a locked box, gun safe, or other secure locked storage space that is designed to prevent unauthorized use or discharge of a firearm; and,
(b) the act of keeping an unloaded firearm stored by such means.
This means that it is illegal to store a loaded firearm in a safe in the State of Washington. The gun must be secured with a trigger lock or in a safe and unloaded.
This is intended as a brief summary of the legislation, and should not be considered legal advice. If you are being prosecuted for violation of the safe gun storage provisions of Washington law – or if you would like to restore your firearms rights, contact us for a consultation.