Reporting Lost & Stolen Guns in the District of Columbia

Any person or organization holding a firearms registration certificate must notify the District Chief of Police in writing of the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm (including the circumstances, if known) immediately upon discovering the loss, theft or destruction.1

The registration certificate holder must also return the registration certificate for the firearm that has been lost, stolen, destroyed, sold or otherwise transferred or disposed of firearm to the Chief at the time the holder notifies the Chief of such loss, theft, destruction, sale, transfer or other disposition.2

See our Reporting Lost & Stolen Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.08(a)(1). ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.08(b). ⤴︎

Safe Storage in the District of Columbia

For sound public safety purposes, the District of Columbia has established a strong, yet non-binding, policy that each firearm registrant should keep any firearm in his or her possession unloaded and either disassembled or secured by a trigger lock, gun safe, locked box, or other secure device.1

The District does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, although federal law applies.

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

  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.02(a). ⤴︎

Trafficking & Straw Purchasing in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia prohibits any person from providing false information or false evidence of his or her identity when purchasing a handgun or machine gun.1

Similarly, the District prohibits any person purchasing a firearm or ammunition or applying for a registration certificate from knowingly providing false information or offering false evidence of identity.2 Moreover, the District prohibits anyone from forging or altering any application or registration certificate.3

The District also prohibits any person from changing, altering, removing, or obliterating the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or other mark or identification on any handgun or machine gun. Possession of any handgun or machine gun upon which any such mark was changed, altered, removed or obliterated shall be prima facie evidence that the possessor has changed, altered, removed or obliterated the marks within the District.4

The District has created a “Firearms Bounty Fund” that makes payments of cash rewards to persons who provide District law enforcement agencies with tips that lead to the adjudication or conviction of: 1) a person or entity engaged in the illegal sale, rental, lease, or loan of a firearm in exchange for money or other thing of value; or 2) a person who has committed a crime with a firearm.5 Cash rewards shall be determined at the discretion of the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department and may range up to $100,000 per tip.6

See our Trafficking & Straw Purchasing policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4511. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.04(a). ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.04(b). ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4512. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2531.04(b). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2531.04(c). District regulations state that the amount of each cash reward shall “not exceed” $100,000 per tip. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24,§ 2400.5. ⤴︎

Universal Background Checks in the District of Columbia

Private sellers in the District of Columbia must have a registration certificate in order to lawfully transfer a firearm.1 See the District Registration of Firearms section. Even where private sellers are so eligible, they may transfer registerable firearms2 only to licensed dealers.3

In addition, no person may sell a handgun to a person: 1) not of sound mind; 2) prohibited from possessing a firearm by any of the specific prohibited categories under D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503 (see the District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally section); or 3) under age 21, unless the seller is the parent or guardian of the purchaser.4 Any person who knowingly or intentionally transfers a firearm or ammunition to someone under age 18 shall be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both.5

The District also prohibits the use of firearms or ammunition as security for a mortgage, deposit or pledge, and prohibits loaning, borrowing, giving, or renting a firearm or ammunition to or from another person.6

See our Universal Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(a). ⤴︎
  2. Unregisterable firearms, such as machine guns, assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles or certain unsafe handguns, among others, cannot be registered and therefore cannot be transferred. See D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.02(a). The District has other transfer restrictions that apply to all sellers of firearms in the district. These appear to apply only to licensed dealers, however. Sellers must wait to deliver a firearm to a purchaser after 10 days have elapsed from the time of application (except for transfers to certain law enforcement officers). D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. Firearms must be transported safely and lawfully (See D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4504.02.) D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. Prior to transfer, purchasers must sign in duplicate and deliver to the seller a statement containing his or her full name, address, occupation, color, place of birth, the date and hour of application, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number of the firearm to be purchased and a statement that the purchaser is not forbidden by D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503 from possessing a firearm. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. The seller shall, within six hours after such application, sign and attach his or her address and deliver a copy to the Chief of Police, and retain the other copy for six years. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4507. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.06(1). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.01. ⤴︎