Senator Cantwell

Senator Cantwell

Thank you for contacting me with your comments regarding concealed carry laws and reciprocity agreements. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Under existing law, the authority to issue concealed carry permits falls within state jurisdiction. Washington State is a “shall-issue” state meaning that residents who meet the necessary criteria (e.g. at least 21 years of age) shall be issued a concealed carry permit upon request. Currently, each state decides which out-of-state permits they will honor. This is done via reciprocity and recognition agreements. In Washington State, the concealed carry permits of other states receive reciprocity only if the licensing state: (1) does not issue permits to individuals under the age of 21, and (2) requires mandatory fingerprint-based background checks of criminal and mental health history (RCW 9.41.073).

As you know, Senator John Thune (SD) introduced Senate Amendment 1618 (S.Amdt. 1618) to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (S. 1390) on July 17, 2009. This amendment would have preempted reciprocity agreements, including those of Washington State. In effect, it would have created a nationalized concealed carry permit set at the lowest issuance standard. Washington State would be forced to grant reciprocity to any permit holder, even if the issuing state did not meet the basic safety and suitability requirements of Washington State law. I opposed this amendment which was not agreed to by the Senate on July 20, 2009.

As your Senator, you can be assured that I will work to protect the legitimate rights of law-abiding American gun-owners, while continuing to support responsible gun control legislation to reduce crime and make our communities safer. I believe both of these goals are important and can be simultaneously accomplished through common-sense gun laws and stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.


Maria Cantwell

United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

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