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Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
Last Update: January 7, 2006
Washington Crimes and Punishments
Dangerous weapons — Penalty.
Every person who:
(1) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;
(2) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or
(3) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,
is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
[1994 sp.s. c 7 § 424; 1959 c 143 § 1; 1957 c 93 § 1; 1909 c 249 § 265; 1886 p 81 § 1; Code 1881 § 929; RRS § 2517.] Effective date -- 1994
Every proprietor, lessee, or occupant of any place of amusement, or any plat of ground or building, who allows it to be used for the exhibition of skill in throwing any sharp instrument or in shooting any bow gun or firearm of any description, at or toward any human being, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
[1994 sp.s. c 7 § 425; 1909 c 249 § 283; RRS § 2535.]
Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
(2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.
(3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:
(a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;
(b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;
(c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;
(d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or
(e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.
[1994 sp.s. c 7 § 426; 1969 c 8 § 1.] Effective date -- 1994
Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions.
(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:
(a) Any firearm;
(b) Any other dangerous weapon as defined in RCW 9.41.250;
(c) Any device commonly known as "nun-chu-ka sticks", consisting of two or more lengths of wood, metal, plastic, or similar substance connected with wire, rope, or other means;
(d) Any device, commonly known as "throwing stars", which are multi-pointed, metal objects designed to embed upon impact from any aspect; or
(e) Any air gun, including any air pistol or air rifle, designed to propel a BB, pellet, or other projectile by the discharge of compressed air, carbon dioxide, or other gas.
(2) Any such person violating subsection (1) of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section, the person shall have his or her concealed pistol license, if any revoked for a period of three years. Anyone convicted under this subsection is prohibited from applying for a concealed pistol license for a period of three years. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.
Any violation of subsection (1) of this section by elementary or secondary school students constitutes grounds for expulsion from the state's public schools in accordance with RCW 28A.600.010. An appropriate school authority shall promptly notify law enforcement and the student's parent or guardian regarding any allegation or indication of such violation.
Upon the arrest of a person at least twelve years of age and not more than twenty-one years of age for violating subsection (1)(a) of this section, the person shall be detained or confined in a juvenile or adult facility for up to seventy-two hours. The person shall not be released within the seventy-two hours until after the person has been examined and evaluated by the *county-designated mental health professional unless the court in its discretion releases the person sooner after a determination regarding probable cause or on probation bond or bail.
Within twenty-four hours of the arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency shall refer the person to the *county-designated mental health professional for examination and evaluation under chapter 71.05 or 71.34 RCW and inform a parent or guardian of the person of the arrest, detention, and examination. The *county-designated mental health professional shall examine and evaluate the person subject to the provisions of chapter 71.05 or 71.34 RCW. The examination shall occur at the facility in which the person is detained or confined. If the person has been released on probation, bond, or bail, the examination shall occur wherever is appropriate.
The *county-designated mental health professional may determine whether to refer the person to the county-designated chemical dependency specialist for examination and evaluation in accordance with chapter 70.96A RCW. The county-designated chemical dependency specialist shall examine the person subject to the provisions of chapter 70.96A RCW. The examination shall occur at the facility in which the person is detained or confined. If the person has been released on probation, bond, or bail, the examination shall occur wherever is appropriate.
Upon completion of any examination by the *county-designated mental health professional or the county-designated chemical dependency specialist, the results of the examination shall be sent to the court, and the court shall consider those results in making any determination about the person.
The *county-designated mental health professional and county-designated chemical dependency specialist shall, to the extent permitted by law, notify a parent or guardian of the person that an examination and evaluation has taken place and the results of the examination. Nothing in this subsection prohibits the delivery of additional, appropriate mental health examinations to the person while the person is detained or confined.
If the *county-designated mental health professional determines it is appropriate, the *county-designated mental health professional may refer the person to the local regional support network for follow-up services or the department of social and health services or other community providers for other services to the family and individual.
(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
(a) Any student or employee of a private military academy when on the property of the academy;
(b) Any person engaged in military, law enforcement, or school district security activities;
(c) Any person who is involved in a convention, showing, demonstration, lecture, or firearms safety course authorized by school authorities in which the firearms of collectors or instructors are handled or displayed;
(d) Any person while the person is participating in a firearms or air gun competition approved by the school or school district;
(e) Any person in possession of a pistol who has been issued a license under RCW 9.41.070, or is exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, while picking up or dropping off a student;
(f) Any nonstudent at least eighteen years of age legally in possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon that is secured within an attended vehicle or concealed from view within a locked unattended vehicle while conducting legitimate business at the school;
(g) Any nonstudent at least eighteen years of age who is in lawful possession of an unloaded firearm, secured in a vehicle while conducting legitimate business at the school; or
(h) Any law enforcement officer of the federal, state, or local government agency.
(4) Subsections (1)(c) and (d) of this section do not apply to any person who possesses nun-chu-ka sticks, throwing stars, or other dangerous weapons to be used in martial arts classes authorized to be conducted on the school premises.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (3)(b), (c), (f), and (h) of this section, firearms are not permitted in a public or private school building.
(6) "GUN-FREE ZONE" signs shall be posted around school facilities giving warning of the prohibition of the possession of firearms on school grounds.
[1999 c 167 § 1; 1996 c 295 § 13; 1995 c 87 § 1; 1994 sp.s. c 7 § 427; 1993 c 347 § 1; 1989 c 219 § 1; 1982 1st ex.s. c 47 § 4.]
Weapons prohibited in certain places — Local laws and ordinances — Exceptions — Penalty.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to enter the following places when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a weapon:
(a) The restricted access areas of a jail, or of a law enforcement facility, or any place used for the confinement of a person (i) arrested for, charged with, or convicted of an offense, (ii) held for extradition or as a material witness, or (iii) otherwise confined pursuant to an order of a court, except an order under chapter 13.32A or 13.34 RCW. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress or ingress open to the general public;
(b) Those areas in any building which are used in connection with court proceedings, including courtrooms, jury rooms, judge's chambers, offices and areas used to conduct court business, waiting areas, and corridors adjacent to areas used in connection with court proceedings. The restricted areas do not include common areas of ingress and egress to the building that is used in connection with court proceedings, when it is possible to protect court areas without restricting ingress and egress to the building. The restricted areas shall be the minimum necessary to fulfill the objective of this subsection (1)(b).
In addition, the local legislative authority shall provide either a stationary locked box sufficient in size for pistols and key to a weapon owner for weapon storage, or shall designate an official to receive weapons for safekeeping, during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building. The locked box or designated official shall be located within the same building used in connection with court proceedings. The local legislative authority shall be liable for any negligence causing damage to or loss of a weapon either placed in a locked box or left with an official during the owner's visit to restricted areas of the building.
The local judicial authority shall designate and clearly mark those areas where weapons are prohibited, and shall post notices at each entrance to the building of the prohibition against weapons in the restricted areas;
(c) The restricted access areas of a public mental health facility certified by the department of social and health services for inpatient hospital care and state institutions for the care of the mentally ill, excluding those facilities solely for evaluation and treatment. Restricted access areas do not include common areas of egress and ingress open to the general public;
(d) That portion of an establishment classified by the state liquor control board as off-limits to persons under twenty-one years of age; or
(e) The restricted access areas of a commercial service airport designated in the airport security plan approved by the federal transportation security administration, including passenger screening checkpoints at or beyond the point at which a passenger initiates the screening process. These areas do not include airport drives, general parking areas and walkways, and shops and areas of the terminal that are outside the screening checkpoints and that are normally open to unscreened passengers or visitors to the airport. Any restricted access area shall be clearly indicated by prominent signs indicating that firearms and other weapons are prohibited in the area.
(2) Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:
(a) Restricting the discharge of firearms in any portion of their respective jurisdictions where there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized. Such laws and ordinances shall not abridge the right of the individual guaranteed by Article I, section 24 of the state Constitution to bear arms in defense of self or others; and
(b) Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to:
(i) Any pistol in the possession of a person licensed under RCW 9.41.070 or exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060; or
(ii) Any showing, demonstration, or lecture involving the exhibition of firearms.
(3)(a) Cities, towns, and counties may enact ordinances restricting the areas in their respective jurisdictions in which firearms may be sold, but, except as provided in (b) of this subsection, a business selling firearms may not be treated more restrictively than other businesses located within the same zone. An ordinance requiring the cessation of business within a zone shall not have a shorter grandfather period for businesses selling firearms than for any other businesses within the zone.
(b) Cities, towns, and counties may restrict the location of a business selling firearms to not less than five hundred feet from primary or secondary school grounds, if the business has a storefront, has hours during which it is open for business, and posts advertisements or signs observable to passersby that firearms are available for sale. A business selling firearms that exists as of the date a restriction is enacted under this subsection (3)(b) shall be grandfathered according to existing law.
(4) Violations of local ordinances adopted under subsection (2) of this section must have the same penalty as provided for by state law.
(5) The perimeter of the premises of any specific location covered by subsection (1) of this section shall be posted at reasonable intervals to alert the public as to the existence of any law restricting the possession of firearms on the premises.
(6) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
(a) A person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments, while engaged in official duties;
(b) Law enforcement personnel, except that subsection (1)(b) of this section does apply to a law enforcement officer who is present at a courthouse building as a party to an action under chapter 10.14, 10.99, or 26.50 RCW, or an action under Title 26 RCW where any party has alleged the existence of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010; or
(c) Security personnel while engaged in official duties.
(7) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to a person licensed pursuant to RCW 9.41.070 who, upon entering the place or facility, directly and promptly proceeds to the administrator of the facility or the administrator's designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm while on the premises or checks his or her firearm. The person may reclaim the firearms upon leaving but must immediately and directly depart from the place or facility.
(8) Subsection (1)(c) of this section does not apply to any administrator or employee of the facility or to any person who, upon entering the place or facility, directly and promptly proceeds to the administrator of the facility or the administrator's designee and obtains written permission to possess the firearm while on the premises.
(9) Subsection (1)(d) of this section does not apply to the proprietor of the premises or his or her employees while engaged in their employment.
(10) Any person violating subsection (1) of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
(11) "Weapon" as used in this section means any firearm, explosive as defined in RCW 70.74.010, or instrument or weapon listed in RCW 9.41.250.
[2004 c 116 § 1; 2004 c 16 § 1; 1994 sp.s. c 7 § 429; 1993 c 396 § 1; 1985 c 428 § 2.]
Reviser's note: This section was amended by 2004 c 16 § 1 and by 2004 c 116 § 1, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).
Finding -- Intent -- Severability -- 1994 sp.s. c 7: See notes following RCW 43.70.540.
Legislative finding and intent -- 1994 sp.s. c 7: "The legislature finds that the increasing violence in our society causes great concern for the immediate health and safety of our citizens and our social institutions. Youth violence is increasing at an alarming rate and young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four are at the highest risk of being perpetrators and victims of violence. Additionally, random violence, including homicide and the use of firearms, has dramatically increased over the last decade.
The legislature finds that violence is abhorrent to the aims of a free society and that it cannot be tolerated. State efforts at reducing violence must include changes in criminal penalties, reducing the unlawful use of and access to firearms, increasing educational efforts to encourage nonviolent means for resolving conflicts, and allowing communities to design their prevention efforts.
The legislature finds that the problem of violence can be addressed with many of the same approaches that public health programs have used to control other problems such as infectious disease, tobacco use, and traffic fatalities.
Addressing the problem of violence requires the concerted effort of all communities and all parts of state and local governments. It is the immediate purpose of chapter 7, Laws of 1994 sp. sess. to: (1) Prevent acts of violence by encouraging change in social norms and individual behaviors that have been shown to increase the risk of violence; (2) reduce the rate of at-risk children and youth, as defined in *RCW 70.190.010; (3) increase the severity and certainty of punishment for youth and adults who commit violent acts; (4) reduce the severity of harm to individuals when violence occurs; (5) empower communities to focus their concerns and allow them to control the funds dedicated to empirically supported preventive efforts in their region; and (6) reduce the fiscal and social impact of violence on our society." [1994 sp.s. c 7 § 101.]
Seattle Municipal Code
Information retrieved February 17, 2006
SMC 12A.14.010 Definitions.
The following definitions apply in this chapter:
A. "Dangerous knife" means any fixed-blade knife and any other knife
having a blade more than three and one-half inches (3 1/2") in length.
B. "Fixed-blade knife" means any knife, regardless of blade length,
with a blade which is permanently open and does not fold, retract or
slide into the handle of the knife, and includes any dagger, sword,
bayonet, bolo knife, hatchet, axe, straight-edged razor, or razor
blade not in a package, dispenser or shaving appliance.
C. "Firearm" means a weapon or device from which a projectile may be
fired by an explosive such as gunpowder.
D. "Personal protection spray device" means a commercially available
dispensing device designed and intended for use in self-defense and
containing a nonlethal sternutator or lacrimator agent, including but
not limited to:
1. Tear gas, the active ingredient of which is either
chloracetophenone (CN) or O-chlorobenzylidene malonotrile (CS); or
2. Other agent commonly known as mace, pepper mace, or pepper gas.
E. "Switchblade knife" means any knife having a blade that opens
automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring mechanism,
or other device, or a blade that opens, falls or is ejected into
position by force of gravity or by an outward, downward, or
centrifugal thrust or movement.
(Ord. 117157 Section 2, 1994: Ord. 116872 Section 11,
1993: Ord. 113547 Section 1, 1987: Ord. 112103 Section 1, 1985: Ord.
110785 Section 1, 1982: Ord. 110462 Section 1, 1982: Ord. 103472
Section 1, 1974: Ord. 102843 Section 12A.17.010, 1973.)
This prohibits the carry of "dangerous knives.
SMC 12A.14.080 Unlawful use of weapons.
It is unlawful for a person knowingly to:
A. Sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or carry any blackjack,
sand-club, metal knuckles, switchblade knife, chako sticks, or
throwing stars; or
B. Carry concealed or unconcealed on his or her person any dangerous
knife, or carry concealed on his or her person any deadly weapon other
than a firearm; or
C. Possess a firearm in any stadium or convention center operated by a
city, county or other municipality, except that such restriction shall
not apply to:
1. Any pistol in the possession of a person licensed under RCW
9.41.070 or exempt from the licensing requirement by RCW 9.41.060, or
2. Any showing, demonstration or lecture involving the exhibition of
D. Sell or give away to any person under eighteen (18) years of age
any dangerous knife or deadly weapon other than a firearm, or for any
person under eighteen (18) years of age to purchase any dangerous
knife or deadly weapon other than a firearm, or for any person under
eighteen (18) years of age to possess any dangerous knife or deadly
weapon other than a firearm except when under the direct supervision
of an adult.
(Ord. 117157 Section 5, 1994: Ord. 116872 Section 14,
1993: Ord. 113547 Section 3, 1987: Ord. 110785 Section 2, 1982: Ord.
110462 Section 2, 1982: Ord. 110179 Section 2, 1981: Ord. 109674
Section 12, 1981: Ord. 108814 Section 3, 1980: Ord. 102843 Section
Subsection B regulating the carrying of certain knives is a reasonable
restriction of the right to bear arms. Seattle v. Riggins, 63
Wn.Ap.313, 818 P.2d 1100 (1991).
A citation as "carrying a concealed weapon" with the code section
number is sufficient to charge a violation of SMC 12A.14.080 B.
Seattle v. Hall, 60 Wn.App. 645, 806 P.2d 1246 (1991).
The prohibition of knowing possessing of chako sticks does not
conflict with state law and is not preempted by the state Juvenile
Justice Act. State v. Rabon, 45 Wn.App. 832, 727 P.2d 995 (1986).
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