Common Gun Offenses in DC

DC follows very strict gun laws and common gun offenses in DC will be prosecuted harshly. In the past, DC had some of the highest gun crime and gun murder rates in the country. The community experienced significant violent crime waves for about 20 years. As a result, DC imposed strict gun laws so that it is nearly impossible to obtain a license or register a gun for private use in DC. If you are facing a gun offense in DC, it is important to contact an experienced gun attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense.

Common Charges

The three most common gun-related charges prosecuted in DC are:

  • Carrying a pistol without a license
  • Possession of unregistered firearm
  • Unlawful possession of ammunition

Carrying a pistol without a license is a felony charge that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition are misdemeanor offenses, and each carries a maximum jail sentence of one year.

There are also other common firearm offenses that can be charged in DC. One of them is possession of a high capacity magazine. Other common firearm-related charges in DC are possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony, which is a serious crime in DC, and the possession of a firearm during the commission of some other crime of violence such as drug distribution or robbery.

Law Enforcement

As a result of lawsuits and Supreme Court rulings over the past several years, those laws were eased up a bit and now allow for private possession of certain kinds of firearms inside a person’s home or place of business. Those rules are most likely going to be further loosened to allow for concealed carry permits. However, currently in DC, the gun laws are written to be stricter preventing these common gun offenses in DC and are enforced in an aggressive way by Metropolitan Police Departments, Secret Service, Federal Bureau Investigation, Federal Protection Bureau, and most of the other law enforcement agencies that exist inside DC.

It is not a coincidence that DC has strict gun laws. It is the home of the federal government and as a result, DC gun laws are written to make it illegal to possess weapons in various parts of the city that are under federal jurisdiction such as federal buildings and federal park land.

Hunting Near DC

Gun laws, including laws relating to shooting ranges or hunting, tend to be more relaxed in Maryland and Virginia. Hunting is not very common in DC. People who possess and own firearms for hunting purposes in Virginia and Maryland may experience a problem when they are legally in possession of hunting-related firearms in their home state and cross over the DC border where possession of those firearms is considered a serious offense. It is important for someone who has legal firearms and licenses to possess firearms and hunt in Virginia or Maryland to be aware of the laws. Simply having those firearms registered and licensed in their home state does not mean they can possess those same firearms in DC.

It is not uncommon for people who routinely keep their firearms in their vehicles because they use them for hunting or for their jobs to accidentally find themselves in DC, with their firearm in their car and be arrested for possession even though they did not realize the firearm was in the car. Individuals need to be aware of where their firearms are at all times so they do not find themselves being arrested for bringing a lawful and licensed firearm from their home state into DC and inadvertently committing a common firearm offense.