Washington State Expandable Baton Laws

RCW 9.41.270

Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.

(2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:

(a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;

(b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;

(c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;

(d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or

(e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

1994 sp.s. c 7 § 426; 1969 c 8 § 1.

Finding -- Intent -- Severability -- 1994 sp.s. c 7: See notes following RCW 43.70.540.
Effective date -- 1994 sp.s. c 7 §§ 401-410, 413-416, 418-437, and 439-460: See note following RCW 9.41.010.

From: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.270

Comments for Washington State Expandable Baton Laws

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Sep 18, 2013
Washington State Expandable Baton Law Clarification
by: Anonymous

The law states that it is unlawful to carry such a weapon, but then states that it does not apply if defending myself or another. So I'm only breaking the law until such time that a baton is needed? If a situation arose that warranted such a weapon then where can I have this weapon until I may need it? In my car? In my house? Please share your thoughts on this.



It looks to me very similar to the law we have here in Pennsylvania.

In Washington I interpret the law as stating that you can carry the baton as long as you do not intend or act upon using it to intimidate, scare or hurt another person. It looks to me like you can carry it and only use it for self defense purposes.

It is illegal to carry the baton if you plan to intimidate or hurt another person as far as I can tell.

Please keep in mind that I am not an attorney and am not providing legal advice. I suggest contacting an attorney for any and all legal advice. The statements above are only my opinion and or view on this topic.

It also could be useful to contact your local police station and arrange a meeting with law enforcement for clarification. The police may or may not know what to tell you.


Mar 31, 2014
Washington law clarification
by: Anonymous

Also bear in mind that the word "warrants" in the law does not mean "causes".

If someone spots such a defense weapon in your bag or on your person and freaks out, that doesn't mean you've committed a crime according to this law. Swinging it around your head would be one example of a situation that "warrants alarm" for the safety of others.

Nov 04, 2014
my take
by: Anonymous

From what it sounds to me, you can have one if you're not intending to use it outside of self defense, but it's tricky, definitely something to watch where you carry because just having a weapon at certain places anymore is "threatening" witch would technically be somewhat against this law I think? Not entirely sure but I'm sure some cops would arrest you for it all the same.

Mar 02, 2015
by: Anonymous

I'm not an attorney, but it says in bold that the ban applies in situations where you are either intending to threaten, actually threatening or brandishing or displaying the weapon in a manner that people might be threatened by.

So basically, if it's a collapsible baton in your pocket, out of sight and you're minding your own business it should be OK.

Note though that the cops won't be happy if you have one of their tools if they decide to search you! I've had that happen before. They get pretty serious about knives and other weapons if you look "suspicious".


May 30, 2015
by: Anonymous

It is a case of whether the carrier is brandishing or not.

For example the same section mentions firearms, but Washington State is an open carry state where any lawful citizen can walk around with a pistol on their hip in plain sight. (You only need a permit if you are concealing.)

Where it becomes a problem is if you are presenting it in a way that is intended to intimidate someone or causes a panic. If your body language says "Do what I say or I'll use this" you're breaking the law unless it is valid self-defense.

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