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VERIFY: You can wear a mask and carry a gun in Washington

Starting this Friday, all Washington residents will be required to wear masks or face coverings inside public places.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Starting this Friday, all Washington residents will be required to wear masks or face coverings inside public places.

Following the Governor's announcement on Tuesday, many of you asked how this order will affect Washington's concealed pistol license holders.

There are posts online that say Washington law does not allow you to conceal carry a firearm while wearing a mask.

But, how does this line up with Washington state law?

Can you wear a mask and carry a weapon in Washington?

To verify, we talked to Governor Inslee's office and the Spokane County Sheriff's office.

Washington Administrative Code 516-52-020 is one that is creating confusion on this topic. It actually pertains to the Western Washington University campus.

Mike Faulk with the governor's office said, according to the WAC, "face masks," among other things, may fall under the definition of armor, and that armor used in an intimidating way or to intimidate others on campus is prohibited.

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But he said wearing a mask to protect yourself and the campus community from transmission of COVID-19 is not intimidating, nor intended to intimidate.

It's for that reason you can conceal carry and wear a mask.

There is simply no conflict between a public health order for face coverings and existing state law for CPL holders.

Spokane County Sheriff's Corporal Mark Gregory reiterates this.

He said if you can legally carry a firearm, the mask requirement will not make it illegal to do so.  

In fact, right now, local law enforcement are focusing on educating the public about this new mandate.

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The Washington Association of Sheriff's and Police Chiefs released a statement on this Wednesday.

It reads in part, "Washington law enforcement agencies continue to focus on education and engagement regarding state orders related to the coronavirus crisis.  The statewide face covering order is a public health and safety measure, it is not a mandate for law enforcement to detain, cite or arrest violators. Law enforcement has always had discretion on enforcement based on individual situations and resources.  Sheriffs and Chiefs will continue to communicate and make decisions in the interest of public safety within our counties and cities.

So yes, KREM can verify that you can still carry a weapon while following Washington's new mask requirement.

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