Traveling to DC with a Firearm (See the Guide) - Ervin Kibria Law

April 14, 2019by Chris Lovos

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Washington DC Firearms Transportation Rules

traveling to dc with a firearm

Understanding the rules around transporting firearms gets a little bit fuzzy when looking at the nation’s capital. While both Maryland and Virginia have laws that allow for the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms, going through DC to get from one location to the other with a gun/firearm can be a bit rough. This doesn’t mean a lot of people don’t do it, but many don’t realize that they are technically violating the law when they are passing through DC.

People driving from Virginia to Maryland and vice versa commonly may carry a firearm but there is an issue when one passes through the nation’s capital with a firearm that is legally registered and licensed in MD or VA, or another state.

The laws around possession of guns or firearms in the District of Columbia are much tougher than its neighboring states.  In the District of Columbia, a gun needs to be registered and if it isn’t, then that person is in violation of DC’s gun laws. That is quite the problem – especially when you’re pulled over by the police and find yourself suddenly needing an attorney to defend you.

Unlawful Transport Charges

There are multiple issues that can cause a charge of unlawful transport to take place in DC. You may be charged with unlawful transportation any time when a firearm is being carried or moved from point A to point B. According to the DC statues, this could be because it is not registered, it is loaded, or there is a specific reason that an individual should not be in possession of a firearm at all, such as an existing criminal record.

DC rules on this are far stricter than either Maryland or Virginia. This is important to keep in mind when traveling. The DC statute with respect to transportation of guns, requires that even when the gun is registered specifically for DC, so it may be transported to and around DC, the individual owner still needs to make sure the gun is unloaded in the trunk or locked in a box unless they have a very specific permit indicating otherwise.

When Transporting from State to State

There are some special exceptions in the U.S. code when it comes to the transportation of firearms from one location to another. When a person legally has a firearm and has legal authority to transport it from one place to another then they can lawfully possess and carry it. However, one must be careful to understand that this is not a work around for “concealed carry.” This is method is simply for taking the firearm out of the vehicle at the location it is being transported to.

As long as all other issues are properly taken care of and done legally then the individual can’t be prosecuted. In other words, they are “excepted.”

However, if you are simply carrying or moving a firearm from one point to another without being under this exception then that can be a problem.

Understanding DC Gun and Firearm Charges

If you ever find yourself stopped in Washington, DC with a firearm in your vehicle or on your person, it is important to understand what the rules are here. The geographic location makes navigating this situation is difficult because taking a gun from Maryland to Virginia isn’t a big deal – unless passing through DC. To be safe you should absolutely make sure that the firearm is locked away in a secure lock box and out of reach (and unloaded).

These rules and regulations matter, and unlawful possession is a serious misdemeanor, which sometimes may be charged as a felony depending on the circumstances of the arrest, and the penalties can include one year in jail and a $1,000 fine or greater (if charged as a felony). A felony firearm charge is an extremely serious issue and can lead to years of jail time and excessive fines.

Understand the rules, understand the laws, and proceed intellegently from there. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony gun or firearms charge in Washington, DC be sure to contact expert gun and firearms attorney Nabeel Kibria at Ervin Kibria law, in DC, immediately.