The Sale and Distribution of Ammunition in DC

For someone to legally be in possession of a firearm in DC, they must apply for a firearms registration. A person can also be in possession of firearms when they are a licensed firearms dealer/seller in DC. A licensed firearms seller in the District of Columbia is allowed to purchase and keep ammunition as part of their inventory.

That comes with certain restrictions; but for the most part, licensed firearms sellers are allowed to keep and maintain an inventory of ammunition for the firearms they sell. An individual who applies for and receives a firearms registration is allowed to keep a firearm in their home or their place of business.

To best understand the rules surrounding the sale and distribution of ammunition in DC, it is pertinent that an individual consult with a Washington DC gun lawyer immediately.

Rules Surrounding Ammunition Possession

The firearms registration does not necessarily allow someone to take their firearm outside of their home or place of business. It does allow them to also keep ammunition for their registered firearm. The ammunition must be the same gauge or caliber as the firearm they have registered.

A person cannot have a shotgun registered and then be in possession of nine-millimeter pistol bullets. The nine-millimeter pistol bullet does not go with the 12 gauge shotgun, so the possession of that ammunition is not considered lawful under DC laws.

Transferring Ammunition

Only licensed firearm dealers are permitted to sell or transfer ammunition in DC. However, they are not allowed to sell or transfer restricted bullets except when the restricted bullets are being sold to another licensed dealer or to an on-duty police officer.

Licensed firearm dealers are not able to sell or transfer ammunition in DC or any firearm to anyone who had their request for a firearm registration denied by the DC government. When the person applied for a registration and that registration was denied, the DC government notifies the licensed firearms dealer. That dealer is not allowed to sell firearms or ammunitions to that person. The sale and distribution of such goods is heavily tracked by DC law enforcement.

Tracking Sale and Distribution in DC

Law enforcement tracks the sale and distribution of ammunition in DC through the licensing of licensed firearms sellers. When the DC government grants a firearms selling license to a firearms dealer, they also track the types of ammunition kept in the dealer’s inventory. The government tracks how much ammunition is sold and to whom those sales are made.

The Metropolitan Police Department aggressively investigates the alleged illegal sale of ammunition through a number of methods. They target people who are simply in possession of ammunition or people they believe to be in possession of ammunition unlawfully. That is done through traffic stops, vehicle searches, home searches, and body searches.

These activities must be consistent with constitutional requirements protecting people’s privacy rights and protecting people’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The police or investigators must have warrants or they must have some reason why they did not have a warrant to be able to conduct searches to find unlawful ammunition.

Consenting to a Vehicle Search

Many times, ammunition is found and seized by the police through normal traffic stops. Very often, when police are engaged in a traffic stop, they find some reason to search the vehicle to discover unlawfully possessed ammunition. Sometimes they can simply ask for a person’s consent to search a car. It is important for drivers of vehicles to know that if the police ask for their consent to search their vehicle, the driver is under no legal obligation to grant them permission to do so.

The police may have some other reason to search. However, if the police ask for consent, very often it means that the police do not have any other basis to search that car. A person always has the right to not consent to a search. If the person consents, they waive any ability to be able to challenge that search later on. The police can conduct the search and charge the driver or other occupants of the car with anything they believe is unlawful that they find in the car. These kinds of stops are very common where police investigate and arrest people for unlawful possession, sale, and distribution of ammunition.