District of Columbia

Updated as of Thursday, August 01, 2013.

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

Permit to PurchaseNoNo
Registration of FirearmsYesYes
Licensing of OwnersNoNo
Permit to CarryNot AvailableNot Available

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.


  • These states recognize District of Columbia permits:
  • None
  • District of Columbia recognizes permits from:
  • None

Map of states recognizing District of Columbia permits:

A synopsis of District of Columbia state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.


A person may buy a firearm only from, or sell only to, a licensed dealer in the District. Delivery cannot be made until the registration certificate for the firearm is approved by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Ammunition may be bought only for the caliber or gauge of a firearm registered to the buyer.


All firearms must be registered with the MPD. To obtain a registration certificate, the applicant must be 21 years old (or be over 18 and have a notorized permission and liability statement signed by his parent or guardian), pass a vision test or have a valid D.C. driver’s license, complete a firearms training course conducted by a state-certified firearms instructor or a certified military firearms instructor that includes one hour of firing training and 4 hours of classroom instruction. READ ALL

An individual must not:

  • be convicted of a crime of violence,  a weapons offense, or a violation of the registration law;
  • be convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • be a fugitive from justice;
  • be under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense;
  • been convicted of a narcotics/dangerous drug, or an assault or threat to do bodily injury, or two or more DWIs, or an intrafamily, offense within the last five years;
  • be addicted to any controlled substance;
  • been acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity, or adjudicated a chronic alcoholic within the past five years, unless he/she presents a medical certification indicating that he/she has recovered from such insanity or alcoholic condition and is capable of safe and responsible possession of a firearm;
  • been committed to a mental hospital within the past five years, unless he/she presents a medical certification that the applicant has recovered from whatever malady prompted such commitment;
  • had a history of violent behavior within the past five years;
  • suffering from a physical defect which would tend to indicate that applicant would not be able to possess or use a firearm safely and responsibly;
  • been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury;
  • have failed to demonstrate knowledge of D.C. firearms law;
  • have been subject to a protection order in an intrafamily proceeding, unless he/she submits a certified court record establishing that the order has expired or has been rescinded for a period of 5 years or more;
  • be subject to a court order that: was issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate or remained in effect after the person failed to appear for a hearing of which the person received actual notice; and restrains the person from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening any person named in the order; and requires the person to relinquish possession of any firearms.

No more than one pistol per registrant may be registered during any 30-day period, except that a person first becoming a District resident may register more than one pistol if the pistols were lawfully owned in another jurisdiction for a period of 6 months prior to the date of the application.

A person applying for a registration certificate may be fingerprinted, must submit 2 full-face photographs taken within the prior 30 days, must appear in person, and may be required to bring with him the firearm for which a registration certificate is sought.

No firearm may be acquired unless an application is first filed with the MPD and a registration certificate issued.  Any person bringing a firearm into the District must “immediately” notify the Identification and Records Division. An application for registration must be filed within 48 hours after such notification.

A person who has registered a firearm must notify the MPD in writing: of the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of the registered firearm immediately upon discovery of such loss, theft, or destruction; within 30 days of a change in the registrant's name or address as it appears on the registration certificate; of the sale, transfer, or other disposition of the firearm within 2 business days of such sale, transfer, or other disposition.

Registration certificates shall expire 3 years after the date of issuance unless renewed for subsequent 3-year periods.

A person may temporarily possesses a firearm registered to another person while in the home of the registrant, if the person is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms and the person reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.

A sawed-off shotgun, machinegun, short-barreled rifle, a pistol that is not on the District Roster of Handguns Not Determined to be Unsafe, an “assault weapon” as defined by D.C. Code § 7-2501.01(3A), and .50 BMG rifle may not be possessed in D.C.  A “large capacity ammunition feeding device” (a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition, except an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition) may not be possessed in D.C.


Carrying a handgun, rifle, or shotgun in the District is prohibited, except that a person holding a valid registration for a firearm may carry it in his home or place of business,  while it is being used for lawful recreational purposes, and while being being transported for a lawful purpose in accordance with  District or federal statute.  No license to carry is available.


A nonresident participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity in the District, or on his/her way to or from such activity in another jurisdiction, may possess a firearm if the firearm is unloaded and, if transported in a vehicle, is not readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment, or, if there is no compartment separate from the driver’s compartment, is in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.  If not transported in a vehicle, the firearm must be unloaded, inside a locked contained, and separate from ammunition.  The person should be able to “exhibit proof” that he is on his way to or from such activity, and that his/her possession of the firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he/she resides.


Antique firearms, and replicas of antique firearms, are exempt from the registration requirement.


Any person who commits a crime of violence “when armed with or having readily available any pistol or other firearm (or imitation thereof)” shall, in addition to the sentence received for the crime itself, also receive an additional sentence. READ ALL

It is unlawful to possess any firearm, including an imitation handgun, with intent to use it unlawfully against another.

It is unlawful to change, alter, remove or obliterate the maker’s name, manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification on any handgun. Possession of a handgun with an altered mark shall create a legal presumption that the possessor committed the offense.

It is unlawful to carry a gun within 1000 feet of a public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college, or university, or any public swimming pool, playground, video arcade, or youth center, or an event sponsored by any of the above entities.


CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

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