OLYMPIA – A bill prioritizing the public safety of Washingtonians was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee today.

Senate Bill 5444, sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle), expands upon existing legislation by including additional designated places where possession of weapons is prohibited. Among the newly added locations are public libraries, zoos, aquariums, and transit stations or facilities utilized for public transportation services. The new law extends common-sense safeguards to locations frequented by families, particularly those with children, in order to create environments free from the worry of potential harm.

“Today marks a significant step forward in prioritizing the safety of Washingtonians,” Valdez stated. “With these designated areas off-limits to weapons, we’re proactively reducing risks and fostering environments where families can enjoy their time without fear.”

Correctional personnel are exempted from these weapons prohibitions, and individuals with concealed carry licenses will retain their rights in most public spaces. These exemptions were crafted to balance public safety concerns with individual rights and responsibilities.

This legislation will also prevent instances where armed displays in public places serve as a means of intimidation, ensuring that public spaces remain safe and welcoming for all individuals, especially children.

The bill goes into effect June 6, 2024.