What to do in ‘No firearms allowed’ zones

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Q: Are “no firearms allowed” zones such as malls, theaters and other private property backed by force of law in Washington state, or are they simply requests? — Bill, Bellevue

A: Unless you’re a sworn police officer, you cannot carry a concealed weapon into any area that’s a posted “no firearms zone.” If you do, you could be in violation of criminal trespass. Lastly, remember this: I know of no law where it requires the owner of that property to provide any kind of a safety box for your firearm, so leave your firearm in a locked area and just don’t carry them into those no firearms zones. — Retired detective Myrle Carner, Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

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  • Josh

    With all due respect to Detective Carner, this answer is entirely incorrect. A criminal trespass is ONLY committed once you have been asked to leave a business, for ANY reason, and refuse to do so. If you carry your firearm into a private business with a "No Guns" sign, and you are asked to leave by a person in charge, then you must leave immediately. However, you are NOT in violation of the law just because you have chosen to ignore the sign. These signs do NOT carry the force of law in Washington State.

    • Wingnut

      In a federal building, school or bar …the law is clear.

      Regarding private property, Josh that is what I have heard on the grapevine too. However, the legal question might be: "is the No Guns sign where you ARE already being asked".

      Now, a property owner may have a hard time arresting you… And if you are asked to leave by them, you should. If a police officer is the one that talks to you first… I don't know that you are free from arrest.

      I understand gun free zones in courthouses… And you would not want a drunk to have a firearm. Gun free zones in other areas appear to be death traps. Clearly, the lawless will not follow these rules… Leaving the lawful easy prey. We should eliminate "Gun Free" massacre zones.

  • Noel

    I am confused, "no firearms allowed on malls and theaters" in Washington State? Even if I have a concelaed carry permit? I did not know that there is a law prohibiting concealed carry on malls and theater here in the WA state. All I am aware of is "the less than 21 years old not allowed area rule". Please advise

    • Josh

      Noel, you are free to take your firearm into any mall or theater regardless of signage as long as you have a CPL. It is not illegal unless the property owner or person in charge asks you to leave and you refuse. A property owner can tell you to leave his/her property for ANY reason and you must do so by law. Simply keep your weapon well-concealed and you're golden. And if you ever get "caught" by a property owner and told to leave–simply leave, as you have committed no crime.

      Do not carry in 21+ areas, federal buildings, schools, and any other specifically named area as described in the RCWs. Signage on private property does NOT carry force of law in Washington State.

  • Brandon

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