Possession of Firearms in DC

In Washington, DC all firearm possession used to be considered a crime. Over the past several years, various courts have changed those rules to allow for the possession of firearms in certain circumstances, but still subject to very strict regulations.

A person is lawfully allowed to keep a firearm in their home or place of business as long as the firearm is registered with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. To do that, someone must obtain a firearms registration permit from the Police Department. Once someone has a registration permit, they are only allowed to possess the firearm in their home or place of business. It does not allow someone to take a firearm outside of those two locations.

If someone is facing gun charges for breaching DC gun regulations, they should consult with a Washington DC gun lawyer for defense.

Carrying a Firearm

DC previously would not permit any licensing for open carry or concealed carry outside of a home or place of business, but that law was also struck down by federal courts as being unconstitutional. As of right now, the District of Columbia is working on developing a licensing scheme that would allow District residents to carry their firearms outside of their homes or places of business, but those laws have not yet been granted final judicial approval.

Currently, there is no set licensing scheme that permits people in the District of Columbia to carry even registered firearms outside of their homes or places of business. A person holding a firearm registration is only allowed to keep the firearm in his or her home or place of business. Eventually, however, people in DC will likely be able to get either an open carry permit or a concealed carry permit.

Currently, there is no set licensing scheme that permits people in the District of Columbia to carry even registered firearms outside of their homes or places of business. A person holding a firearm registration is only allowed to keep the firearm in his or her home or place of business. Eventually, however, people in DC will likely be able to get either an open carry permit or a concealed carry permit.

Lawful Discharge of a Firearm

In general, a person is only permitted to discharge a firearm in the District of Columbia while acting in legitimate self-defense. A person can also apply for a special permit with the Metropolitan Police Department to be able to discharge a firearm under other circumstances inside the District. Typically, that only applies to people who are special police officers or members of the police force. Otherwise, legally discharging a firearm is limited to people acting in self-defense. All other instances would be an unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Penalties for Unlawful Discharge

The only defense to unlawful discharge of a firearm is that the person who discharged the firearm was doing so in self-defense. That means that the person was in imminent fear of bodily harm, the action of discharging the firearm was reasonable under the circumstances, and the amount of force used was proportionate to the threat being faced. That means that a person cannot discharge a firearm with intent to kill a person if the only threat he or she faced was a fear of, say, getting punched in the stomach.

The amount of force that the person uses must be proportionate to the threat that is faced, so a person must face a reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily harm in order to legally discharge a firearm. The penalty for unlawful discharge of a firearm is a maximum of one-year imprisonment.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

There are a number of different laws that cover unlawful possession of a firearm. The most common are unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm and carrying a pistol outside of a home or business. There are other firearm-related charges that carry various kinds of penalties. One such offense is possession of a firearm by someone who has previously been convicted of a felony. This charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 1 year in prison upon conviction and a maximum possibility penalty of 10 years.

Associated Penalties

If a person is charged with the unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm, then the maximum penalty is a misdemeanor conviction that carries a maximum of one year in jail. If a person is convicted of carrying a pistol, which is a handheld firearm, outside of their home or place of business, then they are facing a felony charge, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Prohibited Dangerous Weapons in DC

Even besides firearms, there is a long list of weapons that are presumed dangerous weapons and are prohibited. These include machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, switchblade knives, metal knuckles and any other kind of artificial knuckles that can be used to increase the amount of damage or injury done. Other prohibited weapons include imitation pistols, daggers and stun guns.

Penalties for Possession of a Prohibited Dangerous Weapon

Possession of a prohibited weapon is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment.

Assault With a Dangerous Weapon

Assault with a dangerous weapon is a very serious felony charge in D.C. that carries significant prison time. The maximum penalty that a person faces if convicted for assault with a dangerous weapon is 10 years in prison.

Gun-Free Zones

The most common gun-free zone is a school zone. If a person is in possession of a firearm in a school zone, then that carries a sentencing enhancement, which doubles the possible penalty for the underlying charge.

For example, if a person is convicted of carrying a pistol outside of a home or business, which normally carries a maximum of five years in prison, but they were in a gun-free zone at the time of the offense, then they are facing a sentencing enhancement, that would increase the maximum penalty to up to 10 years.