Possession of a Firearm by a Felon

If a person was convicted of a felony in Washington DC or any other state, the automatic penalty under DC law is that that person cannot be in possession of a firearm. People who were convicted of other offenses that would also make them ineligible for being in possession of a firearm such as intrafamily offenses are ineligible for being in possession of firearms for five years after they have been convicted of the intrafamily offense.

These guidelines are separate and apart from any gun offender registration that a person might have to submit to under DC laws. The prior felony conviction automatically makes a person ineligible for any future possession of a firearm.

If you were convicted of domestic violence or a felony and found in possession of a firearm, contact a Washington, DC gun lawyer today to begin building a defense right away.

Felony Convictions

A felony in DC is defined as any crime where the maximum penalty is more than one year of prison time. Common felonies include many kinds of sex offenses, robbery, burglary, murder, and other more serious criminal offenses. Under DC law, anyone convicted of a felony is permanently banned from being able to possess any kind of firearm.

Domestic Violence Offenders

The other category of people who are not allowed to be in possession of includes people with domestic violence convictions within the past five years. Domestic violence convictions do not necessarily need to be felonies, they can also be misdemeanors. A domestic violence situation could be any intrafamily offense such as between

A person cannot possess a firearm if they are the subject of a temporary or a civil protection order. It is a violation of DC law and of federal law when someone is subject to a temporary civil protection order and is found to be in possession of a firearm.


If a person was convicted of a felony and is found to be in possession of any kind of firearm, they face a mandatory minimum one year prison sentence. A mandatory minimum prison sentence means the person is not eligible for a reduction of that sentence and the judge is not allowed to suspend it. When a person is found to be in possession of a firearm in DC and has a prior felony conviction considered to be a crime of violence, that person receives a mandatory minimum three years of prison time.

In a situation where a person with a prior felony conviction is found to be in possession of a firearm, the maximum penalty is 10 years of prison time. More importantly, the mandatory minimum amount of prison time is one year.

In DC, a crime of violence is defined in an enumerated list of offenses which includes felony sexual offenses, robbery, burglary, and a number of other armed offenses considered to be particularly dangerous. If a person is found to be in possession of a firearm and was convicted of an intrafamily offense within the previous five years, the judge must impose a prison sentence of no less than two years.

However, unlike mandatory minimums, a judge is still permitted under the law to suspend or not require the person to serve the entirety of that sentence. The judge is required to impose at least a two-year sentence. However, they could potentially have the person serve less than the full two years and suspend the remaining to hold that remaining prison sentence over the person’s head in the event they violate the conditions of their probation.

A felon found in possession of a firearm is not eligible to receive less than one year prison time under any circumstances. If the prior felony conviction is considered a crime of violence such as robbery, felony sex offenses, murder, and other extremely serious criminal offenses, the maximum penalty is up to 15 years with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years.