Ask the Edmonds Cop: What the law says about muzzleloader firearms


Edmonds Police Sgt. Shane Hawley answers your public safety questions. This week’s question, from a My Edmonds News reader: Is it legal to possess a muzzleloader firearm?

5 Replies to “Ask the Edmonds Cop: What the law says about muzzleloader firearms”

  1. Hey! That was wonderful and informative! If/when I get the rifle in question, I’ll have to invite you to come see it! I appreciate Sgt. Hawley’s research and time.


  2. In explaining RCW 9.41.113, Section 4, Sgt. Hawley talks about exceptions to having to go through licensed gun dealer, filling out paperwork, and paying for a background check when transferring a firearm. At 3:15 of the video, he states that one exception “is gifting or transferring to family members, so immediate family members don’t have to go through the whole process if you’re just transferring the firearm between each other.”
    The relevant text of the exception from the RCW is: “A transfer between immediate family members, which for this subsection shall be limited to spouses, domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles, that is a bona fide gift;…” In other words, within my interpretation, the exception applies only to “a transfer between immediate family members…that is a bona fide gift.” This would seem to specifically exclude any transfer of possession (e.g., short- or long-term loan) that doesn’t include a transfer of gun ownership as well (i.e., bona fide gift).
    Some clarity on this point would be appreciated.


  3. Hey Ross. Your interpretation of that is correct. I probably could have been more clear, I just hate directly reading from the RCW’s on these segments. The exemption applies to direct family members when gifting a firearm. Mr. Brown’s question was about antique firearms. Also covered in that section. Although I don’t think the firearm he referenced in his question qualifies as “antique”. He can still accept it as a gift, which would be subject to section (4)(a).


  4. Thanks for your response.

    RCW 9.41.113, Section 4 specifically exempts background checks for the sale or transfer of an “antique firearm.” In my understanding of Mr. Brown’s question, what he’s asking about is a modern version of a muzzleloader. RCW 9.41.010 defines “antique firearm” as “a firearm or replica of a firearm not designed or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898, including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.”

    This is more confusing language from Initiative 594, in that it’s not clear 1) whether a replica would had to have been manufactured before 1898, or 2) whether a replica qualifies only if it is a reproduction of a specific make and model of an antique muzzleloader or if could be a modern version of a generic muzzleloader, or 3) whether all firearms using “matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system” are considered antique.


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