Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


What is the definition of a loaded rifle or shotgun?

A shotgun or rifle is considered loaded if it contains shells or cartridges in the chamber or magazine. In addition, any firearm that has a detachable clip or magazine is considered unloaded if the detachable clip or magazine is not inserted in or attached to the firearm.

A muzzleloader is considered loaded if a powder charge and a projectile (either shot or single projectile) are in the barrel and the barrel or breech is capped or primed.

It is illegal to carry, convey, transport, possess, or control a loaded shotgun or rifle in or on any motor vehicle, except under WAC 232-12-828, which covers the hunting of game birds and animals by persons of disability.

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Last Updated
6th of November, 2015