Opinions on firearms rights in Seattle/Tacoma area


August 29, 2008, 02:43 AM
I'm considering a move to the Seattle/Tacoma area and am interested in opinions from members that have lived there on the public opinion of gun rights and gun laws. Are there good gun ranges? Also, any other sound advice on the area is welcomed - I have many outdoors hobbies and interests.


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August 29, 2008, 02:50 AM
Some people on THR will complain about the liberal reputation of the area, but there sure are a lot of liberal gun owners here! Quite a few ranges, including the new Shooting Sports Northwest facility:


You have to drive a bit to find outdoor plinking areas, but that is the nature of this area becoming very developed. Lots of sportsman's clubs with rifle ranges, and some general public ranges.

Carry permits are easy to get once you're a resident. Unless you've got some former problems with the law you should be able to get one as this is a shall-issue state.

No full-auto weapons or short barreled rifles, but you can legally own suppressors, although you can't use them in the state (yes, it's silly).

If you can survive a long winter of never seeing the sun, then come on out to the Evergreen State!

Any particular area you're thinking about? Are you heading to Ft. Lewis? Tacoma has some gang problems, probably the most in Western Washington. The Lacey/Olympia/Tumwater area near Ft. Lewis is nice. Olympia is a bit of a hippie town but if you're fine with that then it is a nice place.

August 29, 2008, 12:26 PM
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The State of Washington or any other state doesn't have shizznat to do with giving our taking away our rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a right spelled forth in our 2nd amendment as a right endowed by our Creator, not by any man. You want to have guns there in Washington state? Have your guns in Washington State or any other State.

Even though SCOTUS opined that the 2nd amendment was an individual right, it has never mattered to me as it shouldn't have mattered to any other American either. We all know what the 2nd says and means and didn't need interpretation. Whether they called it an individual right or state right, I'd still have my weapons regardless. Same will apply no matter who gets elected this November.

Just remember, they are all God-given rights, not priviledges, they are merely spelled out in our Bill of Rights.

August 29, 2008, 12:40 PM
the Seattle/Tacoma isn't all that liberal when it comes to guns. WA is an open carry state with a pretty active forum over on opencarry.org. there are some decent ranges around, my favorite being Range 15 out on Ft. Lewis. its open to civilians on weekends from 10-4.

Concealed carry permits are shall-issue and there's not many places you're not allowed to carry. namely the area of a restaurant or bar that is off limits to those 21 and under. nevermind Mayor five-pennies bloviating about gun bans. he is powerless as we have state preemption on all gun laws.

if you love the outdoors, there is no better place in the country than Washington. we have everything from temperate rain forests to frozen deserts. tons of water to play on, mountains to climb, volcanoes to check out, and wildlife galore.

if you come here, get good, waterproof gear. oh and you better learn to fish for salmon. if you don't, we kick you out. :D

if you have any more questions, i'll do my best to answer them. i've lived here all my life.


Gray Peterson
August 29, 2008, 01:03 PM
There's a more important provision of constitutional law which applies to Washington:

The right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be impaired.....

Quote from Article 1, Section 24 of our state constitution.

August 29, 2008, 02:48 PM
WA has open carry (and an active group educating people about it) with full state pre-emption. The only places you're forbidden (aside from the usual places like courts, etc) are places in restaurants that are off-limits to people under 21 (in practice this means that you can carry in most bars as long as you do not sit at the bar itself and remain in the dining area).

No full-auto weapons.

Suppressors are legal to own, but not to attach to a firearm.

The state is shall-issue and turnaround is fast. In my case, my CPL (Concealed Pistol License) arrived in my mailbox only 4 days after I applied in person at the Bellevue police station. Since I applied at the end of the day, and it must have spent a day in the mail, that means they turned it around in only 2 days of administrative time.

Overall, WA is very friendly towards the 2nd Amendment. The prohibition of NFA weapons and the suppressor laws are silly, but there are groups working on those things.

August 29, 2008, 03:52 PM
Back in 1997 there was an attempt, Initiatve 676, to toughen gun laws. It woud have mandated trigger locks and training (among other things). It went down by over 70% to 30%. It failed in every county, even King (where Seattle is located). I work at "a major, public, research uiniversity" which shall remain nameless. It doesn't get much more left coast liberal. You might be amazed at the number of gun owners (and CPL holders) who work here.
It is, however, late August, and I have yet to harvest more than a handful of tomatoes from my three, up against the house, south facing plants.

August 29, 2008, 05:18 PM
I hope to move soon to Whidbey Island. It's good to hear that Seattle isn't representative of the rest of Washington State.

Is there a website that shows hunting possibilities in western WA?



August 29, 2008, 06:24 PM
here ya go: http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/index.html lots of good hunting opportunities in WA. i'm not a hunter, but have friends that hunt. just be sure to read the regulations. they can get weird.


August 29, 2008, 06:40 PM
I was stationed at NAS Whidbey for 7 years. If you've got questions about the area, lay them on me.

August 29, 2008, 07:47 PM
Lonnie Wilson wrote:
There's a more important provision of constitutional law which applies to Washington:

The right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be impaired.....

I think you left out an important piece Lonnie,

The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired...

The Seattle/Tacoma area is great. I could not however recommend either city proper. Seattle for it's uber-liberal, San-Fran wannbe ways and Tacoma's reputation and crime. Get a little removed though and you'd be surprised how great of a place it is.

August 29, 2008, 08:27 PM
People need to quit moving to Whidbey because I want to move there. I need to keep prices on homes low... I will be there as soon as I find a job.

- Sig

August 29, 2008, 08:58 PM
Suppressors are legal to own, but not to attach to a firearm.

You can attach them to the firearm, you just can't fire them. Which explains why you can buy firearms with integral suppressors in WA.

August 29, 2008, 09:29 PM
MrSig - I already own the house (I bought a few years ago) so I won't be one of the bad ones, even if I will be coming from the San Fran Bay area. The good news is that prices are actually back down to where they were 3 or 4 years ago, so now is a good time to buy.

Whidbey's great - liberals to the south, conservatives to the North, and the rest of us in the middle. Whatever you want is there somewhere.

I know there are a couple of gun ranges on the island, but I'm hoping to find some upland bird and deer, and maybe find a place to go for a pig hunt.

UnknownSailor - is there an active gun community on the island for shotgun sports, or is it mostly EBR shooting?


August 29, 2008, 10:53 PM
You can own AOWs in WA.

A couple of friends of mine, living in WA, own Serbu Super Shortys ("http://www.serbu.com/top/superShorty.php).

August 30, 2008, 01:53 AM
You can own AOWs in WA.

Very true, but that covers a pretty limited bunch of weapons. The tiny shotguns are neat but I don't really have a need for one. Every time I see one I think of Det. Tubbs and the Miami Vice TV show.

August 30, 2008, 02:07 AM
for upland birds, try the Willapa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge. i happen to know a great way to get there down a private road (that i happen to own some property on) ;) oh and its good for fishing and hunting bear, deer and elk too.


August 30, 2008, 03:36 PM
Interesting thread.

I'm trying to decide on which side of the Columbia River I want to move when I retire.

One side has no state income tax, and the other no state sales tax.

I like pumping my own gas, especially for my motorcycle.

That also means I also want to see some sunshine (or at least lack of rain) for riding weather.

I'm looking for an area no less that 30 minutes away from an urban area, and an hour's drive isn't prohibitive.

I'll likely be doing a lot less shooting & training once I retire, although I haven't completely ruled out keeping my hand in some sort of firearms instruction. Dunno. Still be nice to have a range within a comfortable drive.

Wondering how OR & WA are handling the LEOSA qualification issue, too. CCW would be fine, but might as well take advantage of the LEOSA provision. Is it handled by any/all local agencies in either state? Anybody know?

The taxes on cigars in OR are much better than that in WA. This I know. WA's tobacco tax situation, and lack of smoking lounges/clubs, makes CA look downright progressive and civilized. :eek:

I'm increasingly leaning more toward the southern tip of WA, if only for the income tax/retirement consideration, but I'm still open to any advantages OR has to offer.

Not interested in desert areas, though.

FWIW, I've been visiting WA for more than a couple of decades. More in the Sound and Peninsula, though. Mostly just passed through the southern parts.

August 30, 2008, 04:23 PM
You want to have guns there in Washington state? Have your guns in Washington State or any other State.

I'm pretty sure from the OP's screen-name (leadcounsel) that he may be more interested in the legal ramifications of gun ownership in WA state than he is in your defiant stand to have guns wherever and whenever you choose - regardless of the local laws. If you are so certain your rights can not be infringed - try open carry in Chicago and see what happens.

WA state is a beautiful place to live and, as has been noted, is a "shall-issue" state. There are lots of good ranges - both indoor and out. Good places to hunt and fish (although you better hurry up if you are a fisherman - I think there are only a couple of salmon left). Sailing, mountaineering, hiking, etc, etc.

Come on down! (or is that "up"? over?).

August 30, 2008, 06:19 PM
(although you better hurry up if you are a fisherman - I think there are only a couple of salmon left)

haha! ain't that the truth. i'm going fishing after work today on the Puyallup, with my barbless hooks. :(

Fastbolt, sounds to me like you're describing Vancouver, WA. might want to check it out.


August 30, 2008, 06:23 PM
Fastbolt, sounds to me like you're describing Vancouver, WA. might want to check it out.

That's certainly one of the places in which we're interested. It's been a long time since I've done more than stop there overnight, though.

I need to look a bit west & east of the city, I'm thinking.

August 30, 2008, 08:27 PM
Granted this is off-topic, but has anyone from Seattle seen the twist this situation has taken? LEOSA isn't valid because it was never implemented by the federal rule-making agency, the US attorney general's office???

August 30, 2008, 09:00 PM
Live in a county but not in a city.

I have 12 acres, but more importantly I have a pistol range in my backyard and seldom go to Clark rifle's range anymore even though I'm a longtime member of the club.

August 31, 2008, 12:35 AM
Within Seattle:

Me: So, I went shooting this weekend...
Seattle Proletariat: You own..a gun?
Me: Well, multiple, but...
Seattle Proletariat: Eww...don't you know those are dangerous?
Me: No, not really....
Seattle Proletariat: Well, I read that someone who owns a gun is 43 times more likely to have it used on themselves! 43 times! That's like one times 43! I don't know if I can trust you or be your friend, although I do claim to value diversity and different viewpoints on things, as long as they have a sound basis in peaceful, green, Eastern-philosophy...
Me: Yeah, well...
Seattle Proletariat: Mayor Greg Nickels needs to do something about this! I wonder what the carbon-offset is for shooting a gun....

Outside of Seattle:

Me: So, I went shooting this weekend...
Non-Seattlite: Really? What did you shoot?

Some good ranges, some so-so. As others have said: shall-issue CCW, State preemption (so far), silencers (sort of), AOW's, no other good stuff.

August 31, 2008, 01:05 AM
Fastbolt, may I suggest Vancouver? Right on the Columbia, so you'll be paying sales tax on cars and guns but anything else just roll over to PDX.

Don't get caught bringing the dreaded "A" or "T" of "ATF&E" back though... and for an Oregon nonresident, last I knew per the OregonConcealedCarry board Columbia County in St. Helens was pretty good. Might've changed over four years though...

August 31, 2008, 02:40 AM
I've been in Seattle for over 12 years. I curiously asked the local sheriff's department, the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (NOT called the Dept. of Fish & Game like it was in Alaska), the park services, etc. about openly carrying while I go hiking on the Cascade range or out on the Olympic peninsula. They informed me that open carry would probably result in fearful liberals calling the rangers on their cell phones, resulting in me getting a severe talking-to by people in uniform. They recommended that I get a concealment permit and not recklessly discharge while out there, thank you very much. Good enough for me. Getting a permit was easy, and it surprisingly didn't even require a safety class.

Firearms mostly get bad press around here, but once in a while I hear a good spin on it. A few years back one of the papers complained about the "no weapons in stadiums" law being so severe that even off-duty cops were allowed to carry.

The general attitude in the urban areas around here is mostly negative, though it's not as bad as, say, Philly or NY. I'd guess that putting an NRA sticker on your car ~might~ get your tires slashed by some cowardly college hippie. But probably not. Most antigun arguements I hear are based on heresay and emotions, not on facts or experience. The population here is mostly white-hot liberal, but once in a while I'll meet a left winger who likes shooting.

I'd recommend against Wade's shooting range... I haven't been there, but I've heard plenty of bad stories about that place.

August 31, 2008, 03:48 AM
i'll second the the Marksman in Puyallup. i've been shooting there for about 15 years. its a good range. max distance is 45 feet. the people are knowledgeable and for the most part, friendly. great rental selection and the one time rental fee covers all their rentals as long as you buy their ammo.

when they first got their FATS system many years ago, my cousin and i went there to try it out. they let us shoot with the staff, after hours, (when it was on the public range) waving our range fees (though purchasing several hundred dollars worth of their ammo) and we had blast! FATS is TOUGH! the quickdraw cowboy simulation took four of us. i discovered what a great gun the Beretta 8000 Cougar was in that session. bought my Bushy M4A3 HBAR there at a very reasonable price as well as tons of accessories, ammo, optics, holsters, etc. its a good shop.

they make you take a one time, $10 range safety course now, then you get a lifetime range card instead of having to do the waiver once a year.

they are open 8am to 8pm every day. they allow shotguns, pistol caliber carbines, rimfires, and of course, pistols on their range. they have good 1911 and Glock gunsmiths on staff and a good selection of cowboy action shooting guns and supplies.

a few miles down the road (Canyon Rd, that is) is the Tacoma Sportsman's Club. GREAT place to shoot trap and skeet. they shoot Tuesday afternoon/evenings (under the lights) and Sundays from 10am - 4pm. i LOVE to shoot Tuesday evenings after dark. they also have a rifle range out to 200 yards, a pistol range and an archery range as well as sporting clays. nice place and great prices. that reminds me that i need to go shoot trap soon.

the informal outdoor places to shoot are becoming fewer and farther between with more development. the places where i used to shoot .22's and chuck molotov cocktails as a kid along the Carbon River are long gone. as is my Browning BL-22 that i used to shoot down there.

outside of the major cities in King County, WA is a great state to live in and own firearms in. if you can avoid King county, do so. otherwise, enjoy your guns and your rights.


August 31, 2008, 03:57 AM
Most [ ] arguments I hear are based on heresay and emotions, not on facts or experience...

I'd recommend against Wade's shooting range... I haven't been there, but I've heard plenty of bad stories about that place.

You've never been to Wade's - but you recommend against going there?

Sounds like an argument "based on heresay and emotions, not on facts or experience."

I HAVE been to Wade's and have had an enjoyable shooting and shopping experience every time. I recommend it if you are in the Bellevue area. The only caveat is that you must bring one of your own guns in order to rent one of theirs. (Has to do with suicide liability.)

Sam's up in Everett is also a good little range. The Kenmore Gun Range is a great outdoor range. The Marksmen in Puyallup (pew-al-up) is also good and has great instructors and a class on Personal Protection that includes a F.A.T.S. simulator session.

August 31, 2008, 04:43 AM
oops, double tap.

August 31, 2008, 12:35 PM
Wolfeye, I've always open carried in the woods. It is infinitly more comfortable when hiking. I have never had another hiker so much as bat an eye. Even if they did call, in most areas F&W would have a 24 hour response time :).

August 31, 2008, 01:18 PM
Many good comments on various aspects of living in Washington. I will add only a few comments based on living here for 45 years:

Depending on your profession, work can be hard to come by. If you want to live in the greater Tacoma/Seattle/Eastside/Everett corridor, housing can be pretty expensive. If you end up working in that same corridor and have to routinely commute on I-5/I-405/I-90, get used to sitting in traffic.

October 23, 2010, 08:38 AM
Considering this move again and wondering what others have to say or if anything has changed for better or worse in the last few years.

I would be at Ft. Lewis, south of Tacoma.

What are the better areas within 30 minutes of Ft. Lewis?

How is crime? Politics?

How are the shooting ranges in the Ft. Lewis area?

Also, how are the ski resorts within 1 hour, 2 hours, and 4 hours?

October 23, 2010, 12:52 PM
Ft Lewis has (from what I've heard) a great range. If you want to go to a public range, you can head out to the Gig Harbor Sportsman's Club. It's about twenty minutes out. There's also Surplus Ammo and Arms right across the street from JBLM with great prices on ammo and firearms. They also worked out a deal with the local Sheriff's Dept to get police confiscations, so they occasionally get second hand firearms in at drastically reduced prices.

Tacoma is a big place. Some areas have high crime, some are good. Same as any other big city, I suppose. Though Seattle and Tacoma lean left, the area is firearms friendly and when Mayor Nichols tried to ban firearms in public parks it was quickly challenged and overturned. Getting a concealed carry permit is cheap, easy and quick -- do it and keep whatever you're carrying concealed.

You won't be going to Wade's, but for the people who find this thread via Google; I've been there many times. Their staff is generally knowledgeable and polite, they have a lot of supervision for the firing line, but unless you're being unsafe you're left alone. They can do this because, thanks to their staff level, anyone who seems like they might be unsafe can get direct supervision from an RO who will intercede if you're missing your targets, striking the ground, hitting other people's targets, etc. The flip side to that is price, which is a little higher than other places. It's my go-to indoor range.

October 23, 2010, 01:20 PM
Here is the thing. Don't let people exergerating Seattle's anti attitude scare you off. Imagine my shock to find out its a lot tougher in northern Virginia than in Seattle. Turn around for everything from transfering a DL to car Title to CCW in Washington is what I'd term lightning fast. Took me almost 120 days to get CCW after applying in northern Virginia. Yes VA. Go figure! Infact I might rank WA and VA on per as far as gun friendliness goes. Yes I have lived in both states. So much for the liberal\conservative divide. I know some pretty hardcore liberals in VA too who love shooting. Most of the hype is just that. :)

October 23, 2010, 05:47 PM
What are the taxes like in Washington state? Is it Oregon with no sales tax or WA? Income tax? Other taxes?

October 23, 2010, 07:22 PM
Sales tax is coming up on 10% on most everything but food, no income tax. We're pretty regressive there. Us poor pay quite a bit more tax compared to our income than the wealthy.

October 23, 2010, 08:40 PM
Oregon No sales tax
Yes, income tax

Washington No income tax (unless approved by ballot on Nov. 2nd)
Yes sales tax

October 23, 2010, 09:06 PM
The crime in Seattle/Tacoma is nothing like larger cities around the country. I am more upset at bicyclists in Seattle than anything else at this point.

Sales tax in King is currently 9.5%. 10% of you eat out (to pay for a stadium that is, or has already been paid off) I'm not sure what it is in Pierce county (where Tacoma is) but it'll be a little lower. There is a .2% sales tax initiative but hopefully that doesn't pass.

There is a food tax. They passed a tax on candy, bottled water, and some food products depending on how they are manufacturered, but there is also an initiative this November to remove it.

There is an income tax initiative paid for by Bill Gate's old man but I don't think it'll pass. I'll keep the sales tax over an income tax, thank you. The state isn't going to substitute the sales tax with the income tax; it'll be piled on top and the legislature will eventually drop the bracket so everyone pays income tax. There are plenty of creative ways to avoid sales tax. Oregon is a few hours south (no sales tax) and you have the Internet

Politicians here are crooked like everywhere else.

People here like to do a lot of outdoor stuff. To the east, we have the Cascades. Eastern WA is beautiful land. Go north into Canada and you have BC and more mountains. If you like mountain biking, skiing, hiking, or anything mountain or outdoor related, you're in no short supply. Go west to the Olympic peninsula and you hit temperate rain forests which there are very few of in the world.

My favorite part is the weather is fairly mild. It never gets too hot and it never gets too cold (at least not for long). This means you don't have to deal with giant bugs that swarm, sting, or bite like in hotter climates.

October 23, 2010, 09:37 PM
Sales tax in King is currently 9.5%. 10% of you eat out (to pay for a stadium that is, or has already been paid off)

It isn't paid for (the Kingdome) but it has been blown up real good. The voters rejected building a new ball park - so we blew up the Dome and built two new ones anyway.

Now we are about to destroy a scenic and very useful roadway (the viaduct) and build a tunnel that nobody wants.

Jorg Nysgerrig
October 23, 2010, 10:00 PM
I can't imagine how a discussion of the politics, crime, and tax rate of Seattle is an appropriate continuation of this thread.

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