How to Sell a Gun in Washington: A Comprehensive Guide

Selling a gun in Washington requires knowledge of the state’s laws to ensure gun owners are in compliance and don’t make any mistakes. The state of Washington has various laws concerning the ownership, transfer, and the carrying of firearms. When considering selling a gun in a private sale, buyers and sellers will want to be informed of the regulations surrounding firearms.

The following information is from the Washington State Legislature official website in its Senate Committee Services firearms law summary of 2019 and a memorandum on State Laws and Published Ordinances in Washington from the Washington Office of the Attorney General to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

What Selling Options do Gun Owners Have in Washington?

There are a few ways gun owners can sell a firearm in a legal transaction:

  • Gun owners can sell their firearm to a local dealer. This is a good way to help ensure gun owners are complying with gun laws in Washington for firearm sales. However, sellers may be leaving money on the table by selling for much less than the gun’s actual market value.
  • Gun owners can sell a firearm through a private transaction. However, under current Washington law, most private transfers between non-licensed individuals require a background check of the purchaser through a federal licensed dealer. First-time, knowing violations of this requirement are a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. (RCW 9.41.113.)Below is the legal text:
    Section 9.41.113. Firearm sales or transfers – Background checks – Requirements – Exceptions.(1) All firearm sales or transfers, in whole or part in this state including without limitation a sale or transfer where either the purchaser or seller or transferee or transferor is in Washington, shall be subject to background checks unless specifically exempted by state or federal law. The background check requirement applies to all sales or transfers including, but not limited to, sales and transfers through a licensed dealer, at gun shows, online, and between unlicensed persons.
    (2) No person shall sell or transfer a firearm unless:(a) The person is a licensed dealer;
    (b) The purchaser or transferee is a licensed dealer; or
    (c) The requirements of subsection (3) of this section are met.(3) Where neither party to a prospective firearms transaction is a licensed dealer, the parties to the transaction shall complete the sale or transfer through a licensed dealer as follows:(a) The seller or transferor shall deliver the firearm to a licensed dealer to process the sale or transfer as if it is selling or transferring the firearm from its inventory to the purchaser or transferee, except that the unlicensed seller or transferor may remove the firearm from the business premises of the licensed dealer while the background check is being conducted. If the seller or transferor removes the firearm from the business premises of the licensed dealer while the background check is being conducted, the purchaser or transferee and the seller or transferor shall return to the business premises of the licensed dealer and the seller or transferor shall again deliver the firearm to the licensed dealer prior to completing the sale or transfer.
    (b) Except as provided in (a) of this subsection, the licensed dealer shall comply with all requirements of federal and state law that would apply if the licensed dealer were selling or transferring the firearm from its inventory to the purchaser or transferee, including but not limited to conducting a background check on the prospective purchaser or transferee in accordance with federal and state law requirements and fulfilling all federal and state record keeping requirements, and complying with the specific requirements and restrictions on semiautomatic assault rifles in chapter 3, Laws of 2019.
    (c) The purchaser or transferee must complete, sign, and submit all federal, state, and local forms necessary to process the required background check to the licensed dealer conducting the background check.
    (d) If the results of the background check indicate that the purchaser or transferee is ineligible to possess a firearm, then the licensed dealer shall return the firearm to the seller or transferor.
    (e) The licensed dealer may charge a fee that reflects the fair market value of the administrative costs and efforts incurred by the licensed dealer for facilitating the sale or transfer of the firearm.

    (4) This section does not apply to:

    (a) A transfer between immediate family members, which for this subsection shall be limited to spouses, domestic partners, parents, parents-in-law, children, siblings, siblings-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles, that is a bona fide gift or loan;
    (b) The sale or transfer of an antique firearm;
    (c) A temporary transfer of possession of a firearm if such transfer is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the person to whom the firearm is transferred if:
    (i) The temporary transfer only lasts as long as immediately necessary to prevent such imminent death or great bodily harm; and
    (ii) The person to whom the firearm is transferred is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law;
    (d) A temporary transfer of possession of a firearm if: (i) The transfer is intended to prevent suicide or self-inflicted great bodily harm;
    (ii) the transfer lasts only as long as reasonably necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm;
    (iii) the firearm is not utilized by the transferee for any purpose for the duration of the temporary transfer;
    (e) Any law enforcement or corrections agency and, to the extent the person is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment or official duties, any law enforcement or corrections officer, United States marshal, member of the armed forces of the United States or the national guard, or federal official;
    (f) A federally licensed gunsmith who receives a firearm solely for the purposes of service or repair, or the return of the firearm to its owner by the federally licensed gunsmith;
    (g) The temporary transfer of a firearm 
    (i) between spouses or domestic partners; 
    (ii) if the temporary transfer occurs, and the firearm is kept at all times, at an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located; 
    (iii) if the temporary transfer occurs and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively at a lawful organized competition involving the use of a firearm, or while participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group that uses firearms as a part of the performance; (iv) to a person who is under 18 years of age for lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes while under the direct supervision and control of a responsible adult who is not prohibited from possessing firearms; or 
    (v) under circumstances in which the transferee and the firearm remain in the presence of the transferor; or 
    (vi) while hunting if the hunting is legal in all places where the person to whom the firearm is transferred possesses the firearm and the person to whom the firearm is transferred has completed all training and holds all licenses or permits required for such hunting, provided that any temporary transfer allowed by this subsection is permitted only if the person to whom the firearm is transferred is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law; or
    (h) A person who 
    (i) acquired a firearm other than a pistol by operation of law upon the death of the former owner of the firearm or 
    (ii) acquired a pistol by operation of law upon the death of the former owner of the pistol within the preceding 60 days. At the end of the 60-day period, the person must either have lawfully transferred the pistol or must have contacted the department of licensing to notify the department that he or she has possession of the pistol and intends to retain possession of the pistol, in compliance with all federal and state laws.
    (i) A sale or transfer when the purchaser or transferee is a licensed collector and the firearm being sold or transferred is a curio or relic

  • Another option if simply wanting to legally dispose of a firearm is surrendering it to local law enforcement. However, by doing this, gun owners potentially lose on hundreds or even thousands of dollars those guns could be worth in a sale.
Overwhelmed by your state's laws?
Be compliant and sell your gun for a fair price now!
Get Started

What is the Process of Buying a Firearm from a Dealer in Washington?

In Washington state, only licensed firearms dealers are authorized to engage in retail sales of firearms.

In order to purchase a firearm legally through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, the buyer must be 18 years old to purchase rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Buyers looking to purchase handguns must be at least 21 years old. No permits or registration are required to own a firearm in this state.

Anyone purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer must complete a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms form 4473 (firearms transaction form). This form will be maintained by the dealer. A firearms purchaser must, under the permanent provisions of the Federal Brady Law, also undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check, which will be performed by the firearms dealer.

This check will indicate to the dealer whether the purchaser’s background allows for the person to complete the purchase of the firearm.

Firearm Safety Training Program

In order to purchase a semi-automatic assault rifle, the purchaser must provide proof to the dealer that he or she has completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the last five years. At a minimum, the training must include instruction on:

  • Basic firearms safety rules;
  • Firearms and children, including secure gun storage and talking to children about gun safety;
  • Firearms and suicide prevention;
  • Secure gun storage;
  • Safe handling of firearms; and

According to the Washington State Legislature, a semi-automatic assault rifle is defined as any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge. The definition specifically excludes antique firearms, firearms that have been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.

Washington Firearm Ownership Restrictions

Eligibility to Possess Firearms (RCW 9.41.040)
The right to bear arms is an individual right under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington. That right is not, however, without restriction.

The following persons are prohibited from possessing firearms:

  • Any person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any felony;
  • Any person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the following crimes committed by one family or household member against another: assault in the 4th degree, coercion, stalking, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass in the 1st degree, or violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or the person from a residence (RCW 26.50.060, 26.50.070, 26.50.130, or 10.99.040);
  • Any person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of harassment when committed by one family or household member against another;
  • During any period of time a person is subject to a restraining order or no contact order that explicitly prohibits the use of physical force against a protected person or the protected person’s child;
  • After having been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment unless the person’s right to possess a firearm has been restored;
  • After dismissal of criminal charges based on incompetency to stand trial when the court has made a finding the defendant has a history of one or more violent acts, unless the person’s right to possess a firearm has been restored;
  • If the person is under eighteen years of age (however, see Possession of Firearms by Minors);
  • If the person is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a serious offense as defined in RCW 9.41.010. At the time a person is convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity, the person is committed for mental health treatment, or charges are dismissed based on incompetency to stand trial coupled with a finding that the person has a history of violent acts, the court must notify the person orally and in writing that the person must immediately surrender any concealed pistol license and that the person may not possess a firearm unless the person’s right to do so is restored by a court of record. Within three days after conviction, the court must forward a copy of the person’s driver’s license along with the date of conviction to the Department of Licensing for purposes of license revocation. A person in possession of a firearm who has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a serious offense is guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, a Class


  • Conviction (felony or misdemeanor) where the crime has a maximum imprisonment term exceeding 1 year (even if a buyer did not receive actual imprisonment exceeding 1 year).
  • Warrant (felony or out-of-state misdemeanor).
  • Felony pre-trial release.
  • Misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence restraining/stalking/protection order mental health adjudication or commitment.
  • Unlawful use or addicted to a controlled substance (including marijuana).
  • Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
  • Renounced U.S. citizenship.
  • Illegal alien.

Get the Best Price for Your Gun Without Leaving Home

If the hassle of navigating Washington’s gun laws seems overwhelming, we’re excited to tell you that there’s a better way!

You can safely, easily and legally sell your handgun or long gun to Dunlap Gun Buyers and be 100% compliant with Washington gun laws.

We have are licensed by the U.S. Government to help people sell firearms. We take care of the hard part and make the process safe, quick and hassle-free. The reality is, you can sell your gun without leaving the house.

Just tell us which gun(s) you’d like to sell, we’ll make you an offer, and once we agree on a price, you’ll mail us your gun(s) with all expenses paid by us. When we receive your gun(s), we get you paid with a check in your hand within a few days.

When you use Dunlap Gun Buyers, you get the following unbeatable benefits!

Free gun appraisal  –  Fair price for your gun –  Free shipping

Easy shipment tracking throughout the whole process. Speedy payment!

Begin our safe and discrete process here.

Save the hassle
and sell your gun legally for a fair price now!
Get Started

The information contained on this website has been prepared as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice. has used reasonable efforts in collecting, preparing, and providing quality information and material, but does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, adequacy, or currency of the information contained in or linked to this website. Users of information from this website or links do so at their own risk and should consult their local firearm law resources and/or an attorney when engaging in selling a firearm. The cited information in this article was obtained on 08/29/23 from and

© 4/20/20