Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia deems machine guns unregisterable, thereby prohibiting possession of these firearms.1 Unregisterable firearms cannot be sold or transferred in the District.2 The District defines a machine gun as:

[A]ny firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term “machine gun” shall also include the frame or receiver of any such firearm, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a firearm into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.3

District law also provides that any manufacturer, importer or dealer of a machine gun will be held strictly liable for any direct and consequential damages resulting from injuries or death caused by these weapons:

Any manufacturer, importer, or dealer of a[]…machine gun shall be held strictly liable in tort, without regard to fault or proof of defect, for all direct and consequential damages that arise from bodily injury or death if the bodily injury or death proximately results from the discharge of the…machine gun in the District of Columbia.4

Any defense available in a strict liability action is available as a defense to an action brought under the District’s machine gun strict liability laws.5

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.6 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019,7 however, the District additionally banned bump stocks by ordinance in 2019.8

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(2). See also D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4514(a) (prohibiting possession of a machine gun in the District). ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2505.01, 7-2505.02(a). ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01(10). ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.02. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.03(d). ⤴︎
  6. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). ⤴︎
  7. Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, 479). ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. §  22-4514(a). ⤴︎

Maintaining Records of Gun Sales in the District of Columbia

 

All private sales of firearms in the District must be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer.1 For a description of the inventory records and other information required to be kept by licensed firearms dealers, see the “Duties of Licensed Dealers” subsection of the District of Columbia Dealer Regulations section.

See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.02. ⤴︎

Mental Health Reporting in the District of Columbia

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

The District of Columbia has no law requiring the reporting of mental health information to NICS.

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the District of Columbia Background Checks section and the section entitled District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎

Microstamping & Ballistics in the District of Columbia

Ballistic Identification

The District of Columbia’s Chief of Police must ensure that any handgun to be registered in the District is submitted for a ballistics identification procedure.1

Any applicant seeking to register a handgun in the District must, prior to transfer, present the approved firearm registration application to the licensed firearms dealer selling the handgun and take the handgun directly to the Firearms Registration Section of the District’s Metropolitan Police Department for completion of a ballistic identification procedure, and pay a $12 fee.2 If the applicant purchases from a dealer located in another jurisdiction, the applicant must have that dealer transport the applicant’s handgun to a licensed dealer in the District where the applicant will accept transfer pending completion of a ballistic identification procedure.3

Failure to comply with the ballistics identification requirement will result in the denial of the registration application or revocation of the registration for that handgun, and may subject the handgun owner to criminal charges.4

Microstamping Requirements

The District prohibits licensed dealers from selling or offering for sale any firearm that does not have imbedded into the metal portion of such firearm a unique manufacturer’s identification number or serial number.5

Beginning January 1, 2018, the District will prohibit any licensed dealer from selling or offering for sale any semiautomatic pistol manufactured on or after January 1, 2018 that is not “microstamp-ready.”6 “Microstamp-ready” means manufactured to produce a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code on at least two locations on each expended cartridge case that identifies the make, mode, and serial number of the pistol.7 A semiautomatic pistol will be deemed microstamp-ready if it is:

  • Manufactured in the District of Columbia;
  • Manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and delivered or caused to be delivered by any manufacturer to a firearms dealer in the District; or
  • Manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and sold, offered for sale, loaned, given or transferred by a firearms dealer in the District.8

A semiautomatic pistol manufactured after January 1, 2018 that is not microstamp-ready and was acquired outside of the District by a person who was not a District resident at the time of acquisition but who subsequently moved into the District shall be registered if all relevant requirements of the District firearms control laws are met, and may be sold, transferred, or given away but only through a licensed dealer.9 If a dealer lawfully acquires a microstamp-ready semiautomatic pistol that was originally purchased by a non-dealer resident of the District, the dealer shall not sell, offer for sale, loan, give, or transfer that pistol if he or she knows or reasonably should have known that the unique alphanumeric or geometric code associated with that pistol has been changed, altered, removed, or obliterated, excepting for normal wear.10

Beginning January 1, 2018, a manufacturer transferring a pistol to a firearms dealer for sale in the District will be required to certify that the pistol was manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and that:

  • The pistol will produce a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code on each cartridge case that identifies the make, model, and serial number of the pistol that expended the cartridge casing; and
  • The manufacturer will supply the Chief of Police with the make, model, and serial number of the pistol that expended the cartridge case, when presented with an alpha-numeric or geometric code from a cartridge case, provided, that the cartridge case was recovered as part of a legitimate law enforcement investigation.11

Except for normal wear, the District prohibits any person from changing, altering, removing or obliterating the unique alpha-numeric or geometric code associated with that pistol.12 Replacing a firing pin that has been damaged or worn and is in need of replacement for the safe use of the pistol or for a legitimate sporting purpose shall not alone be evidence that someone has violated this prohibition.13

See our Microstamping & Ballistics policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(d). A ballistics identification procedure is, generally, a process, approved by the Chief of Police, undertaken to identify markings unique to a particular firearm or the ammunition used by the firearm. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2399.1. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.3(f), (g). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.6. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2504.08(a). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2504.08(b).D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2504.08(b). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(a)(3). ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(b). ⤴︎
  9. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(c)(1). ⤴︎
  10. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(c)(2). ⤴︎
  11. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(e). ⤴︎
  12. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(d)(1). ⤴︎
  13. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.03(d)(2). ⤴︎

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in the District of Columbia

Generally, no person under age 21 may obtain a registration certificate, which prevents such individuals from lawfully possessing a firearm (see the District of Columbia Background Checks section and the section entitled District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally for further information).1 The Chief of Police may, however, issue a registration certificate to an applicant between the ages of 18 and 21 years old, who is otherwise qualified, if the application is accompanied by a notarized statement of the applicant’s parent or guardian verifying that:

  • The applicant has the permission of his or her parent or guardian to own and use the firearm to be registered; and
  • The parent or guardian assumes civil liability for all damages resulting from the actions of the applicant in the use of the firearm to be registered.2

District regulations prohibit the possession of any firearm by a person under age 18.3

The District generally prohibits the sale of any handgun to a purchaser under age 21.4 Moreover, any person who knowingly or intentionally transfers a firearm or ammunition to a person under age 18 is criminally liable for a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.5

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(a)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Id. Such registration certificate expires on the person’s 21st birthday. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2301.1. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4507. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.06(1). See also D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2302.1, 2302.3 (generally prohibiting the transfer of any firearm or ammunition to a person under age 18). ⤴︎

Non-Powder & Toy Guns in the District of Columbia

(This section was last updated September 20, 2010.)

The District of Columbia generally prohibits the possession or carrying outside any building of an air rifle, air gun, air pistol, B-B gun or any similar type gun.1 A person may use an air rifle, air gun, air pistol or B-B gun if such use is supervised by a person age 18 or older, for:

  • A theatrical performance or athletic contest;
  • Use at a licensed shooting gallery; or
  • Use at other locations where the use of such guns is authorized by the Chief of Police.2

Persons age 18 or older may transport an air rifle, air gun, air pistol or B-B gun within the District if unloaded and securely wrapped.3

The District also prohibits the sale or other transfer to any person under age 18 of an air rifle, air gun, air pistol, B-B gun or a similar type of gun, or ammunition for such weapons.4 These transfers are lawful if supervised by a person age 18 or older for:

  • A theatrical performance or athletic contest;
  • Use at a licensed shooting gallery; or
  • Transfer at other locations where the use of the item is authorized by the Chief.5

See our Non-powder & Toy Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2301.3. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2301.5. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2301.4. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2302.1. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2302.3. ⤴︎

Other Location Restrictions in the District of Columbia

Persons with concealed carry licenses are prohibited from carrying a handgun in the following locations or under the following circumstances:

  • A building or office occupied by the District of Columbia, its agencies, or instrumentalities;
  • The building and grounds, including any adjacent parking lot, of an childcare facility, preschool, public or private elementary or secondary school; or a public or private college or university;
  • A hospital, or an office where medical or mental health services are the primary services provided;
  • A penal institution, secure juvenile residential facility, or halfway house;
  • A polling place while voting is occurring;
  • A public transportation vehicle, including the Metrorail transit system and its stations;
  • A licensed establishment where alcohol is served, or sold and consumed, on the premises;
  • A stadium or arena;
  • A gathering or special event open to the public if the organizer has provided notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns in advance of the gathering or special event and posted signage at the event;
  • The public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin, and any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law or by a federal agency or entity, including U.S. Capitol buildings and grounds;
  • Specific areas around the White House;
  • The U.S. Naval Observatory, its grounds, and certain adjacent areas;
  • When a dignitary or high-ranking government official is moving under the protection of law enforcement under certain circumstances;
  • Within an area no more than 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place so long as notice is provided;
  • Any prohibited location or circumstance that the Chief determines by rule; provided, that for spontaneous circumstances, no criminal penalty shall apply unless the licensee has notice of the prohibition and has failed to comply; and
  • A church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship unless authorized by the institution.1

The District also prohibits a person from carrying or having readily accessible a firearm upon the U.S. Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings.2 “Capitol Buildings” are the U.S. Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all subways and enclosed passages connecting two or more of such structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any such structure.3

Furthermore, the District prohibits possession of any firearm or ammunition in low-rent public housing4 and allows private persons or entities owning property in the District to prohibit or restrict gun possession on their property.5

Notwithstanding any other District law, a person holding a valid registration certificate for a firearm may carry that firearm:

  • Within the registrant’s home;
  • While it is being used for lawful recreational purposes;
  • While it is kept at the registrant’s place of business; or
  • While it is being transported for a lawful purpose as expressly authorized by District or federal statute and in accordance with the requirements of that statute.6

 

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. §  7-2509.07. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 10-503.16(a)(1)(A). ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 10-503.26(1). ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 14, § 6500.8(c)(2). ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503.02(b). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4504.01. ⤴︎

Preemption of Local Laws in the District of Columbia

See our Preemption of Local Laws policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Home Rule

The District of Columbia has broad authority to regulate firearms. The District derives its delegated legislative powers from the Home Rule Act1, enacted in 1973. Section 1-303.43 incorporates an earlier grant of power (formerly section 1-321; originally section 1-227, enacted in 1906) authorizing the District Council to make and enforce laws regulating firearms and ammunition. The statute provides that:

The Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to make … all such usual and reasonable police regulations…as the Council may deem necessary for the regulation of firearms, projectiles, explosives, or weapons of any kind in the District of Columbia.

Interpretation

In McIntosh v. Washington, 395 A.2d 744 (D.C. 1978), the District of Columbia Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the District’s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 19752, relating to the use and sale of firearms. Appellants argued that the City Council was without authority to adopt the Act because the legislative history of section 1-147(a)(9)3 of the Home Rule Act, requiring elected Council members to wait 24 months after taking office before enacting certain legislation, demonstrated Congress’ intent to prohibit the District from adopting a comprehensive criminal regulatory scheme. The court rejected this argument, holding that the statute does not limit the District’s authority to enact firearms regulations that do not conflict with existing Congressional regulation for the District.4

The court noted that the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 explicitly provides that Congress has no intent to occupy the field of gun regulation to the exclusion of state law touching on the same subject matter “unless there is a direct and positive conflict between such provision and the law of the State so that the two cannot be reconciled or consistently stand together. [Emphasis added.]”5 Finding no “direct and positive” conflict between the District’s gun control regulations and the Home Rule Act, the court stated:

[A] parallel enactment in a given area cannot be stricken simply because it expands the scope of restrictions imposed by a parent legislative body. The Firearms Act, much like the predecessor gun control regulations upheld in Pistol Ass’n, fits within the general pattern of antecedent congressional enactments.6

In Maryland & District of Columbia Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Washington, 442 F.2d 123 (D.C. Cir. 1971), a case decided before enactment of the Home Rule Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a challenge to the District’s local police firearm regulations (D.C. Pol. Reg. Arts. 50-55, subsequently repealed and replaced by D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01 et seq.). The court held that the enactment of firearm legislation for the District by the U.S. Congress did not preempt the District Council’s right to adopt additional firearms regulations pursuant to an act of 1906 authorizing the Council to make and enforce all regulations deemed necessary for the regulation of firearms. The court concluded that the existence of both Congressional and District regulation on the same subject matter was not problematic, as long as the two regulatory schemes did not conflict. The court stated:

The important consideration, we think, is not whether the legislature and municipality have both entered the same field, but whether in doing so they have clashed. Statutory and local regulation may coexist in identical areas although the latter, not inconsistently with the former, exacts additional requirements, or imposes additional penalties.7

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. section 1-201.01 et seq. Pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution, and the Home Rule Act, Congress retains the power to override legislation enacted by the District of Columbia, either by passing a resolution of disapproval before such legislation becomes law, or by passing a bill to modify or repeal it after it goes into effect. §§ 1.206.01 et seq; see Bliley v. Kelly, 23 F.3d 507, 508 (Ct. App. D.C.Cir. 1994). ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann.§ 7-2501.01 et seq. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann.§ 1-206.02(a)(9). ⤴︎
  4. McIntosh, 395 A.2d at 753. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. McIntosh, 395 A.2d at 753. ⤴︎
  7. Maryland & District of Columbia Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc., 442 F.2d at 130. ⤴︎

Registration in the District of Columbia

Generally, no person or organization in the District of Columbia may possess or control a firearm unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm.1 If the gun is being brought into the District, an application for registration must be filed immediately after the gun is brought into the District, or within 48 hours if such person personally communicates with the Metropolitan Police Department and provides any information demanded by the Department.2

Who May Register

Registration certificates may be issued to:

  • District residents possessing a handgun for self-defense within the resident’s home or place of business (see the “Registration Requirements for Handguns for Purpose of Self-Defense with in Registrant’s Home” subsection below for detailed regulatory requirements);
  • As part of the application process for a license to carry a concealed pistol pursuant to § 7-2509.02;3
  • An organization that employs at least one commissioned special police officer or employee licensed to carry a firearm whom the organization arms during the employee’s duty hours;
  • A retired Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) police officer (in the discretion of the Chief of Police); or
  • The Fire Marshal and any member of the District Fire and Arson Investigation Unit designated in writing by the Fire Chief, for the purpose of enforcing the District’s arson and fire safety laws, and in the discretion of the Chief of Police; or
  • A firearms instructor, or to an organization that employs a firearms instructor, for the purpose of conducting firearms training.4

The following classes of persons are exempt from the District’s registration requirement:

  • Any law enforcement officer, agent of the government, or any member of the military authorized to possess a firearm “while on duty in the performance of official authorized functions;”
  • Any person holding a dealer’s license; provided that the firearm is acquired in the normal conduct of business, kept at the location described in the dealer’s license, and not kept for private use or protection, or for the protection of his or her business;
  • Any nonresident participating in a lawful firearm-related recreational activity in the District, or heading to or from such activity in another jurisdiction (provided that he or she can show proof of his or her participation if so demanded by law enforcement, possession or control of the firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he or she resides, and the weapon is unloaded and not readily accessible);
  • Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm registered to another person while in the home of the registrant, provided that 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; or
  • Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm while participating in a firearms training and safety class conducted by a firearms instructor.5

Registration Requirements

For a detailed list of the prohibited categories that relate to registration certificates, see the District of Columbia Prohibited Possessors Generally section.

Any person applying for a registration certificate must provide to the Chief of Police:

  • His or her full name or any other name by which the applicant is known;
  • His or her address and each home address where the applicant has resided during the five-year period immediately preceding the application;
  • His or her business or occupation and the addresses of such businesses or places of employment;
  • His or her date and place of birth;
  • His or her sex;
  • Whether (and if so, the reasons) the District, the United States or the government of any state or subdivision of any state has denied or revoked the applicant’s license, registration certificate, or permit pertaining to any firearm;
  • A description of the applicant’s role in any mishap involving a firearm, including the date, place, time, circumstances, and the names of the persons injured or killed;
  • The caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s identification number, serial number, and any other identifying marks on the firearm;
  • The name and address of the person or organization from whom the firearm was obtained, and in the case of a dealer, his or her dealer’s license number;
  • Where the firearm will generally be kept;
  • Whether the applicant has applied for other registration certificates; and
  • Such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of the District’s gun registration requirements.6

Registration applicants must also be photographed and fingerprinted in order to conduct an efficient and adequate investigation into the applicant’s background.7 A person submitting a registration application must attest under oath that the information submitted is truthful and sign the application under penalty of perjury.8

Registration Process

A person must obtain a registration certificate prior to taking possession of a firearm from a licensed dealer or from any person or organization holding a registration certificate for the firearm.9 For persons moving into the District, an application for registration shall be filed immediately after a firearm is brought into the District.10

District law states that an applicant may be required to bring their firearm in person to be registered.11 However, note that a federal court ruled in 2015 that the Second Amendment did not permit mandatory inspection of firearms during registration, at least based on the evidentiary record presented by the District to support this requirement at the time.12

Once a properly executed application for a registration certificate is received, “the Chief, upon determining through inquiry, investigation, or otherwise, that the applicant is entitled and qualified,” shall approve or deny the application within 60 days, “unless good cause is shown, including non-receipt of information from sources outside the District government….”13

Firearms Safety Training

Registration applicants must complete an online firearm safety training course.14

Duration & Renewal

The District previously required firearm registrants to renew their registration certificates every three years, but this requirement was struck down under the Second Amendment by a federal appeals court.15 The appeals court determined that the re-registration requirement was not necessary because “background checks could be conducted at any time without causing the registrations to expire” and because other District laws already require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, as well as other “relevant changes in their information, such as a new address.”16

Revocation

MPD will revoke a registration certificate if: 1) any of the criteria in D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03 (prohibited categories and other requirements for a registration certificate) are not met; 2) the registered firearm has become an unregisterable firearm or a destructive device; or 3) the information furnished to the Chief on the application for a registration certificate proves to be intentionally false.17

Duties of Registrants

In addition to other registration requirements imposed by District law, each person or organization holding a registration certificate must:

  • Notify the Chief in writing of the “loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm (including the circumstances, if known) immediately upon discovery of such loss, theft, or destruction;”
  • Notify the Chief in writing within 30 days of a change in the registrant’s name or address as it appears on the registration certificate;
  • Notify the Chief in writing of the “sale, transfer, or other disposition of the firearm within 2 business days of such sale, transfer, or other disposition,” including: 1) identification of the registrant, the firearm and the serial number of the registration certificate; 2) the name, address, and date of birth of the person to whom the firearm has been sold or transferred; and 3) whether the firearm was sold or how it was otherwise transferred or disposed of;
  • Return to the Chief the registration certificate for any firearm which is lost, stolen, destroyed, sold or otherwise transferred, at the time he or she notifies the Chief; and
  • Have in his or her possession, whenever in possession of a firearm, the registration certificate for the firearm, and exhibit the certificate on demand of a member of the MPD or other law enforcement officer.18

Unregisterable Firearms

Assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and unsafe firearms19. While handguns not registered to the current owner prior to September 24, 1976, are technically unregisterable, a person who seeks to possess a handgun in his or her home or place of business for self-defense, or seeks a permit to carry a concealed handgun, may register a handgun not registered prior to September 24, 1976.20 Handguns may also be registered to an organization that employs at least one commissioned special police officer or other employee licensed to carry a firearm and that arms the employee with a firearm during the employee’s duty hours, or to a retired MPD officer.21

Registration Requirements for Handguns for Purpose of Self-Defense with in Registrant’s Home

In addition to satisfying all other registration requirements, an applicant registering a handgun for self-defense within that person’s home must comply with specific District registration regulations.22 Such applicants are required to:

  • Obtain a registration application from any licensed firearms dealer or the MPD and present the application to a licensed dealer for completion;
  • Appear in person at MPD headquarters and:
    • Report to the Firearms Registration Section with a completed application, acquire two fingerprint cards, and provide:
      • A valid driver’s license or letter from a physician attesting that the applicant has vision as least as good as that required for a driver’s license; and
      • Residency verification, such as a District driver’s license or identification card, a current rental agreement, or a deed to property that includes a home;
    • If successful on the test, pay all “applicable and reasonable fees” required by the Chief;
    • Submit to fingerprinting; and
  • Present the approved application to the licensed dealer.23

Disclosure or Use of Information

Any record regarding a person who has applied for, received, or had revoked any registration may not be made available as a public record.24

See our Registration policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2502.01, 7-2502.06(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02; D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.1. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(a). ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(b). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(b). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.04(a), (b). See also D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2312.1. ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.05. ⤴︎
  9. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.06(a). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.04(c); see also D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, §§ 2313.7, 2313.8. ⤴︎
  12. See Heller v. District of Columbia (“Heller III”), 801 F.3d 264, 277 (D.C. Cir. 2015). ⤴︎
  13. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07(a), (b). ⤴︎
  14. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2311.9; see also Firearms Safety Training Course, accessed Apr. 17, 2018, https://dcfst.mpdconline.com/. Previously, the District also required applicants to complete a test demonstrating knowledge of the District’s firearms laws (see D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2311.1), but this written examination requirement was struck down in Heller v. District of Columbia (“Heller III”), 801 F.3d 264, 278-79 (2015). ⤴︎
  15. Heller v. District of Columbia (“Heller III”), 801 F.3d 264, 277-278, 281 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (striking down D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07a). ⤴︎
  16. Id. (citing D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2502.08(a)(1); D.C. Code § 7-2502.08). ⤴︎
  17. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.09(a). For revocation procedures, see D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.10. If a registrant having his or her registration revoked, or an applicant appealing a revocation decision, receives an unfavorable decision, within seven days of the decision he or she must: 1) peaceably surrender to the Chief the firearm for which the registration certificate was revoked in the manner provided under D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.05; 2) lawfully remove the firearm from the District for so long as the individual has an interest in such firearm; or 3) otherwise lawfully dispose of his or her interest in such firearm. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.10(c). ⤴︎
  18. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.08. ⤴︎
  19. see D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04 ⤴︎
  20. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a). ⤴︎
  21. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(4). ⤴︎
  22. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.1. ⤴︎
  23. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.3. ⤴︎
  24. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.11a. ⤴︎