First-Time Gun Buyer in Washington State? Here’s The Process

firearms purchase process for first-time buyers

Sporting Systems knows that the decision to purchase a firearm for the first time can be filled with uncertainty. Each state has its own method of processing gun purchases. And with the combination of state and federal regulations, the process of buying a gun can seem overwhelming when you’re doing it for the first time.

We are here to help. We’ll go through the process with you step-by-step so that you — and we — remain in full compliance with all applicable laws.

Buying A Gun For The First Time In Washington State

First of all, we appreciate the fact that as a first-time gun buyer in Washington, you’ve turned to Sporting Systems for assistance. We’re happy you’re here, and we look forward to helping you find the perfect firearm for your needs.

Many of our customers have told us that this video we put together on becoming a first-time gun buyer was helpful to them. And on this very page, we’ve put together all the information you need to become a new and informed member of Washington’s gun-owning community.

As a friendly, licensed dealer — and a locally owned gun shop — we encourage you to take a look at the video and review the information below on purchasing a gun for the first time in the state of Washington.

Here are the steps to take and some tips for first-time gun owners related to the information you need as a Washington state resident.

1. Bring These With You to Sporting Systems

  • Valid driver’s license or photo ID with current address
  • Completed I-639 class for semi-auto rifles
    • The I-1639 class is required by Washington law. State residents who want to purchase any semi-automatic rifle must complete this firearms safety training course. Please complete this course prior to coming to the store to purchase a firearm.
  • Washington state requires gun purchasers to take a safety training class that covers multiple topics related to the purchase of firearms. We’ve made it easy to begin completing the HB1143/I-1639 training.

2. Familiarize Yourself with These Rules/Regulations

  • Washington state requires background checks for every firearm sold. The checks can sometimes take several weeks to process.
    • Completed background checks expire after 30 days. If you wait longer than that to purchase your firearm, we will need to perform another background check.
  • Residents must have been in the state for at least 90 days.
  • Handguns, semi-auto rifles, and receivers can only be delivered within the state of residence.
  • As mentioned above, anyone purchasing a semi-automatic rifle is required to take a class — thanks to Initiative 1639. We are happy to make this class available for free on our website.
  • Mandatory 10 business day waiting period on all firearm purchases as well as an approval on background check. No longer able to release firearms in a delay or undetermined status.
  • A Concealed Pistol License (CPL) does not speed up the process.
  • Same-day delivery of firearms is no longer available.

3. What You Can Expect From Sporting Systems

  • Our local gun store staff is made up of experts in firearms, accessories, gun purchases, and all applicable laws and regulations
  • We will help you define your needs as a first-time buyer. For example:
  • We will assess your needs and then present you with options regarding size, caliber, ammunition, and more.
  • We will encourage you to handle any firearm that you’re interested in purchasing. This will help familiarize you with the gun and give you an idea of what it’s like to handle it, holster it, place it in a purse, etc.
  • You will fill out the Federal 4473 form using the iPads in our store.
  • Budget about 20 minutes from the time you select a firearm to get through the paperwork process. Forms may include:
    • Firearm Transfer Application
  • At this point, we’ll collect any payments due.

As soon as it’s ready, we’ll call you.

Be Ready For Our Call!

Make sure your voicemail is set up properly and working. Seriously. We want to deliver your firearm, and we’ll call you as soon as it’s approved. No need to keep calling the shop to check up on the process.

Once we contact you, come down to the shop. Keep in mind that background checks expire after 30 days. After that, we have to start the process all over again, collecting another background check fee.

That’s it! We hope the combination of this blog post and the video has helped answer some of the questions you may have about the firearm purchase process for first-time buyers.

Of course, we hope you’ll visit us often, and stock up on all the firearms you’ll need for protection and sport. Remember: You’re only a first-time gun buyer in Washington once!

Let us know if you have any questions.

Sporting Systems

Purchasing a firearm can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience for first-time gun buyers. With so many different types of guns, accessories, and various safety requirements, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible before making the big purchase.

Sporting Systems understands this, and that’s why we want to make it our mission to create a positive, educational, and friendly purchasing experience for our customers, especially first-time gun buyers.


Before making the trip to our store, it’s essential to have some basic knowledge about the type of firearm and accessories you want. Research online forums, read reviews and watch videos to gain a better understanding of the different types of guns and their uses. You can even reach out to our knowledgeable staff over the phone or email them for specific queries. We can help guide you through the whole process.

Open Your Mind

It’s okay if you aren’t sure what you want; we are here to help you. All our customers are treated with the same respect, regardless of their level of experience. It’s always beneficial to come with an open mind and be willing to learn. Our trained staff will assist you in finding the right gun for your level of expertise, intended use, and budget.

Try Before You Buy

As we mentioned earlier on this page, it’s crucial to find a firearm that feels right in your hands. This is a crucial step to ensure that you feel comfortable and safe with the firearm you choose. We provide expert guidance through the shooting process and offer various types of firearms for you to choose from.

Follow-Up Care

The relationship with our customers doesn’t end after they buy their firearms. We will always answer questions and provide ongoing assistance, even after the final purchase. That’s why we offer a range of services to make your gun-owning experience as positive as it can be. We are happy to share our expertise and provide personalized recommendations for keeping your firearms in their best possible shape for many years to come.

With our comprehensive services, knowledgeable staff, and friendly atmosphere, Sporting Systems aims to create a positive and memorable experience for all our customers. We are here to help our customers have a safe and enjoyable shooting experience while offering the best possible support.

If you’re a first-time gun buyer in Washington State, join us at Sporting Systems, where we will give you the best possible education, experience, and expert advice to help you choose the right gun and accessories for your needs.

Come for the coffee and leave with your dream gear


Facebook Review

Vancouver Gun Shop Reviews “Hands down the best gun store in town. Dan and Heidi are quality people who genuinely care about there customers. Great selection of guns!”

Heather Janisch
Google Review

“I am extremely impressed with the shop as a whole. By far my best gun buying experience ever! Dan, Heidi and staff were very helpful”

Dave Bodin
Northwest Firearms Review

“Stopped by today. I’m impressed! Nice store, good displays, lots of guns, great folks. Not a typical gun store. They got it goin on!”

Fire Mountain Outdoors Review

“best gun shop in the State of Washington!!”

Fire Mountain Outdoors

Check out more of our reviews on Google.