Self Defense Laws


  1. These are excerpts taken from State Statutes and other sources. Information herein should not be assumed accurate, and if you find yourself needing accurate information about law, you are hereby advised to consult a lawyer. Information herein should be used for informational, and not legal, purposes only.
  2. Any Device listed below as “legal to carry” only applies if carried with legal intent (that is for self defense).  Most often states that allow citizens to carry weapons and devices for self defense have increased penalties for using them in commission of a crime.


Right to Self Defense

Duty to retreat / Stand Your Ground

While a person is anywhere they legally have the right to be, so long as they are not engaged in unlawful conduct.  A person can use deadly force to protect themselves, spouse, family member, or any other person in their company, when they reasonably believe they or another is facing imminent death or great personal injury. While state law does not specify no duty to retreat, a state Supreme Court ruling affirmed the right to defend yourself wherever you legally have a right to be.(CNN)

Right to Carry Weapons and Self Defense Devices

Deadly Weapon Defined:

“Dangerous weapon” means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm; any ligature or other instrumentality used on the throat, neck, nose, or mouth of another person to impede, partially or completely, breathing or circulation of blood; any electric weapon, as defined in s. 941.295 (4); or any other device or instrumentality which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm. (State Statute)

  • Firearms
    • Open Carry - Unknown
    • Concealed Carry - With a Permit
  • Pepper Spray – Yes.
  • TASER / Stun Devices – Yes
  • Impact Weapons
    • Batons – Yes
    • Brass Knuckles – No
    • Sling Shots – Unkown
  • Knives (All types) – Restricted.  State law specifically prohibits, “any knife having a blade which opens by pressing a button, spring or other device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or movement”
  • Martial Arts Weapons
  • Blowguns – Yes
  • Cane Swords – Unknown.
  • Nunchucks – Yes
  • Swords – Unknown
  • Throwing Stars – Yes


  • Batons – Yes
  • Nunchucks – Yes
  • Brass Nuckles – No
  • Sling Shots – No
  • Knives (All types) – (restrictions apply to single hand operating knives)
  • Throwing Stars and Knives – Yes
  • Blowguns – Yes
  • Swords – No
  • Cane Swords – No

Reference: Washington Revised Statutes : (Title 9 and 9A)