In general, it’s legal to own a gun in the District of Columbia. However, there are a lot of caveats to that, so make sure to keep reading. For one thing, only certain firearms are eligible for registration in D.C. Rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and handguns qualify for registration, but the Metro PD have singled out certain firearms for being prohibited.
It’s not legal to own the following types of firearms:
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Machine guns
- Short-barreled rifles
- Assault weapons
- .50 BMG rifles
- Any handgun not listed on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale (per DC Code § 7–2505.04).
Aside from the firearms listed above, you’re able to own a gun in DC.
“Can I Keep a Gun in My Vehicle?”
Per the DC Code, in order to keep a loaded firearm in the vehicle, the firearm owner must have a concealed carry license. The only way to get a concealed carry license is to receive one from the Metropolitan Police Department, which issues them on a “shall issue” basis—another way of saying it’s up to their discretion who gets one. According to recent estimates, there are only about 3,000 CCW’s in Washington, D.C.
The ability to get a CCW is fairly recent; it was only in 2017 that courts struck down a ban on concealed carry permits as unconstitutional. There are some strict rules governing concealed carry (e.g. notifying an officer when approached). Note, however, that open carrying is still illegal in Washington, D.C.
Requirements for Registering as a Gun Owner
Aside from having a CCW, it’s only legal to have a loaded firearm in your home. If you’re carrying a gun in your vehicle (i.e. to the firing range), the firearm must be unloaded and inaccessible to the passenger compartment. However, there are some further requirements you must meet before being able to legally own a firearm in Washington, D.C.
To be a registered gun owner, you must:
- Be 21 years old
- Have no convictions for weapons offenses
- Have no convictions of a felony of any kind
- Not be under indictment for a violent crime or weapons offense
- Not have a history of violent behavior in the last five years
- Not have any convictions for drug offenses, assault or threats, two or more DUI violations, domestic violence, or stalking
- Not have been acquitted under the insanity defense
- Not have been committed to a mental institution in the last five years
- Not have a physical condition that would make operating a firearm unsafe
- Not be found negligent in a firearm accident that killed or injured another
Keep in mind that even if you have a CCW for Washington, D.C., the same CCW would not be respected in Maryland or Delaware. Roughly less than half the country has a reciprocity agreement with concealed carry permits from Washington, D.C.
Facing Weapons Charges with a Prince George’s County Defense Attorney
Confusion about the law regarding licensed carry, firearm registration, and other minutiae regarding gun laws in D.C. are common reasons why people get charged with weapons offenses in the first place. If you want to avoid jail time and losing your firearms license, then you need to speak with an experienced weapons charge lawyer in Prince George’s County.
Gracia & Mintz serves people of all backgrounds and needs to help protect them from prosecutors and overzealous enforcement. Our team includes a former prosecutor and a former police officer, equipping us with the tools and experience to successfully defend you. Get your free consultation to learn your legal options and begin building your defense today.
Call (301) 842-8584 or use our short online form to get a free, confidential consultation.