DC Ammunition Laws

There are certain classes of people who are permitted to possess ammunition in DC. A person in DC who wants to buy a firearm must first get a registration for that firearm. Once they have a registration for the firearm, they are allowed to purchase or be in possession of ammunition, but only ammunition of the same gauge and caliber as their registered firearm. For example, a person with a valid registration for a 12 gauge shotgun cannot be in possession of or purchase nine-millimeter ammunition that goes to a pistol. The type of ammunition someone purchases must correspond to the firearm that is registered in DC to that person. If you are unsure of DC ammunition laws, contact a gun attorney in DC for more information.

Individuals Allowed to Possess Ammunition

The first group is licensed dealers. Individuals who are licensed to sell firearms in DC can possess ammunition as part of their inventory. On-duty police officers are also allowed to be in possession of ammunition. That means if a police officer is off duty or not otherwise engaged in police activity, they would not necessarily be allowed to be in possession of ammunition, it is permitted only for on-duty law enforcement.

Do You Have to Register Ammunition in Washington, DC?

People with valid firearms registration certificates are also allowed to be in possession of ammunition as long as that ammunition goes to the firearm they have registered. Those with valid ammunition collector certificates are also allowed to be in possession of ammunition. Individuals temporarily in possession of ammunition while participating in firearm safety classes can do so legally as long as their firearm safety class is being taught by a licensed instructor and they are only in possession of ammunition temporarily as part of the class.

Restricted Ammunition

Certain classifications of ammunition are considered to be restricted even for people with valid firearms registrations in DC.  For the most part, restricted bullets include:

  • 50-caliber machine gun ammunition
  • Bullets made from certain kinds of metals – specifically bronze, depleted uranium, brass, steel, and iron
  • Armor piercing bullets

Armor piercing bullets generally refer to large caliber, full jacket ammunition where the weight of the jacket is more than 25 percent of the weight of the full bullet. DC ammunition law has a more specific definition of armor piercing bullets, so there is a way to determine whether the bullet is restricted or not restricted.

Valid Firearm Registration Ammunition Laws

A person with a valid firearm registration in DC is not necessarily allowed to be in possession of any kind of ammunition at all times. People with DC firearms registrations are allowed to possess ammunition only intended for use with their registered firearm. Also, having that firearm registration does necessarily permit the firearm owner to carry ammunition outside of their home or place of business. A registration only allows a firearm owner to keep their gun in their home or their place of business.

When a person’s firearm is registered, they can keep ammunition for that firearm at their home or place of business. However, if they are found to be in possession of that ammunition outside of their home or place of business and they do not have the proper licensing to do that, they can be still charged with the crime. A separate license is required to carry the firearm and ammunition for that firearm outside of someone’s home or place of business.