The District of Columbia has extremely strict laws when it comes to gun control. Due to the complexity of these laws, it is very easy to run afoul of them.
At the baseline, it is certainly legal for you to own a registered firearm in DC. Without an additional license to carry, however, you need to follow strict guidelines while transporting that firearm:
A 1st-time conviction for possession of an unregistered firearm in DC is a misdemeanor offense carrying a penalty of up to 1 year of jail time and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
A 2nd or subsequent conviction for possession of an unregistered firearm is a felony offense carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $12,500.
It is also unlawful to possess ammunition without a registered firearm. This is a misdemeanor offense carrying a penalty of up to 1 year of jail time and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Note that this offense is separate from the offense of possession of an unregistered firearm, so if you are caught with a loaded unregistered firearm, the police can charge you for both the gun and the ammunition.
Per DC Code §22–4503, there are certain circumstances under which you are not allowed to own a gun in DC at all. These circumstances include:
The last item on the list is quite important, as an intrafamily offense can be a misdemeanor offense under DC law—such as a domestic assault that did not result in any physical injury—but will still prevent you from owning a firearm in DC.
If you violate the unlawful possession of a firearm law because you are a felon (reason 1 on the list above), the penalty is a minimum sentence of 1 year in prison and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $25,000. If you have a prior conviction for a crime of violence (defined by DC Code §23-1331(4)), the penalty goes up, resulting in a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $37,500.
If you violate the unlawful possession of a firearm law for the other listed reasons (reasons 2-5 on the list above), the penalty is a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $25,000.
Concealed carry is, as the name would suggest, the practice of carrying a concealed weapon on one’s person. In line with its harsh stance on gun control, the DC laws on concealed carry are especially strict, making it easy to get in trouble on this issue in the District of Columbia.
One mistake people often make is assuming that, as long as they have a license for concealed carry from their home state, they will be fine bringing their gun into DC. This is a wrong assumption. DC does not honor concealed carry licenses issued by any other state.
That means if you have a license for concealed carry from another state, you are still required to apply for and receive a concealed carry license from the DC Chief of Police before you are legally allowed to carry a gun upon your person.
Many restrictions are placed upon a concealed carry license in DC. One basic requirement is that you are required to always have with you the license to carry and the registration information of the firearm you are carrying. Another is that you are not allowed to carry more ammunition than required to load the firearm twice, and no more than 20 rounds under any circumstances.
Additionally, you are not allowed to carry a firearm while consuming alcohol or while impaired. There are also places where and circumstances under which you are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm even if you do have a concealed carry license:
The penalty for violation of any requirements of a license to carry includes up to 180 days of jail time and/or up to $1,000 in fines. You may also have your license to carry revoked.
As you can see, the gun and firearms control laws in DC are both strict and complex. If you are facing charges related to gun possession in Washington DC, whether it is about an unregistered firearm or about problems with concealed carry, do not hesitate to call the expert, experienced and aggressive lawyers at Ervin Kibria Law today for a free consultation. Our accomplished and experienced DC Gun Possession Lawyers will help you work through your options and zealously advocate for the best outcome for your case.
Give us a call and arrange a free consultation.
1629 K Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Direct: (202) 689-4439
Fax: (866) 709-5280
1775 Tysons Blvd.
Tysons, VA 22102
Direct: (703) 962-7790
Fax: (866) 709-5280