In Washington State, there are certain restrictions on what types of weaponry a person is able to own, and depending on your status, you may not be entitled to the same rights as others. For instance, there are a number of regulations and restrictions on a convicted felon's ability to carry, own, and operate firearms within the State of Washington. However, restrictions on weaponry go deeper than controlling whether or not a person convicted of a crime can own a firearm.
Washington State outlines specific descriptions of weapons known as "Dangers Weapons" that are illegal for a person to carry, own, manufacture, or use. Statute RCW 9.41.250 reads:
(1) Every person who:
(a) 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;
(b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or
(c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm unless the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law,
is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
The statute goes on further to describe what constitutes a "spring blade knife," an example of which would be a switchblade, which activates a spring-loaded knife at the press of a button. The law does not outlaw knives that are not spring or switch-operated, such as a "butterfly knife," which requires a user to fan open the knife, or a simple camping knife, which requires the user to manually open the knife to reveal the blade. It should be noted that the possession alone of a sound suppressor on a firearm is not necessarily strictly forbidden, however making use of the item, or possession of it without it being registered federally may result in confiscation and possible criminal charges. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $5000, or both.
The Law In Practice
Typically, the definition of a "dangerous weapon" is normally at the discretion of a police officer conducting a search or an arrest. You may find that your property will be seized without necessarily being classified as a dangerous weapon by the actual law itself. You may even face criminal charges for possessing these weapons, although they may not even be forbidden per the strict language of this law. The best thing you can do in these situations is to avoid protesting and confronting officers about it, and instead, wait until you have an opportunity to contact a lawyer. Remember: arguing with law enforcement can only make things worse. An angry cop is more likely to hurt you, or take more of your possessions for seizure. On top of this, you may end up with additional charges, such as resisting arrest. A lawyer can argue for the release of your property from seizure, and to drop the charges on possessing the weapon, especially if the weapon is unrelated to any crime, or is not strictly forbidden by this statute.
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