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D.C. gun laws

§ 7-2501.01. Definitions

As used in this unit the term:

(1) “Acts of Congress” means:

(A) Chapter 45 of Title 22;

(B) Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended (Title VII, Unlawful Possession or Receipt of Firearms (82 Stat. 1236; 18 U.S.C.S. Appendix)); and

(C) An Act to Amend Title 18, United States Code, To Provide for Better Control of the Interstate Traffic in Firearms Act of 1968 (82 Stat. 1213; 18 U.S.C.S. § 921 et seq.).

(2) “Ammunition” means cartridge cases, shells, projectiles (including shot), primers, bullets (including restricted pistol bullets), propellant powder, or other devices or materials designed, redesigned, or intended for use in a firearm or destructive device.

(3) “Antique firearm” means:

(A) Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; and

(B) Any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica:

(i) Is not designed or redesigned for using rim-fire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition; or

(ii) Uses rim-fire or conventional ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

(4) “Chief” means the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia or his designated agent.

(5) “Crime of violence” means a crime of violence as defined in § 22-4501, committed in any jurisdiction, but does not include larceny or attempted larceny.

(6) “Dealer’s license” means a license to buy or sell, repair, trade, or otherwise deal in firearms, destructive devices, or ammunition as provided for in subchapter IV of this unit.

(7) “Destructive device” means:

(A) An explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket, missile, mine, or similar device;

(B) Any device by whatever name known which will, or is designed or redesigned, or may be readily converted or restored to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant through a smooth bore barrel, except a shotgun;

(C) Any device containing tear gas or a chemically similar lacrimator or sternutator by whatever name known;

(D) Any device designed or redesigned, made or remade, or readily converted or restored, and intended to stun or disable a person by means of electric shock;

(E) Any combination of parts designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device; or from which a destructive device may be readily assembled; provided, that the term shall not include:

(i) Any pneumatic, spring, or B-B gun which expels a single projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter;

(ii) Any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon;

(iii) Any device originally a weapon which has been redesigned for use as a signaling, line throwing, or safety device; or

(iv) Any device which the Chief finds is not likely to be used as a weapon.

(8) “District” means District of Columbia.

(9) “Firearm” means any weapon which will, or is designed or redesigned, made or remade, readily converted or restored, and intended to, expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such device; or any firearm muffler or silencer; provided, that such term shall not include:

(A) Antique firearms; or

(B) Destructive devices;

(C) Any device used exclusively for line throwing, signaling, or safety, and required or recommended by the Coast Guard or Interstate Commerce Commission; or

(D) Any device used exclusively for firing explosive rivets, stud cartridges, or similar industrial ammunition and incapable for use as a weapon.

(10) “Machine gun” means any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot:

(A) Automatically, more than 1 shot by a single function of the trigger;

(B) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading.

(11) “Organization” means any partnership, company, corporation, or other business entity, or any group or association of 2 or more persons united for a common purpose.

(12) “Pistol” means any firearm originally designed to be fired by use of a single hand.

(13) “Registration certificate” means a certificate validly issued pursuant to this unit evincing the registration of a firearm pursuant to this unit.

(13a) “Restricted pistol bullet” means any bullet designed for use in a pistol which, when fired from a pistol with a barrel of 5 inches or less in length, is capable of penetrating commercially available body armor with a penetration resistance equal to or greater than that of 18 layers of kevlar.

(14) “Rifle” means a grooved bore firearm using a fixed metallic cartridge with a single projectile and designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.

(15) “Sawed-off shotgun” means a shotgun having a barrel of less than 20 inches in length; or a firearm made from a shotgun if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or any barrel of less than 20 inches in length.

(16) “Shotgun” means a smooth bore firearm using a fixed shotgun shell with either a number of ball shot or a single projectile, and designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.

(17) “Short barreled rifle” means a rifle having any barrel less than 16 inches in length, or a firearm made from a rifle if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or any barrel of less than 16 inches.

(18) “Weapons offense” means any violation in any jurisdiction of any law which involves the sale, purchase, transfer in any manner, receipt, acquisition, possession, having under control, use, repair, manufacture, carrying, or transportation of any firearm, ammunition, or destructive device.

§ 7-2502.01. Registration requirements

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this unit, no person or organization in the District of Columbia (”District”) shall receive, possess, control, transfer, offer for sale, sell, give, or deliver any destructive device, and no person or organization in the District shall possess or control any firearm, unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm. A registration certificate may be issued:

(1) To an organization if:

(A) The organization employs at least 1 commissioned special police officer or employee licensed to carry a firearm whom the organization arms during the employee’s duty hours; and

(B) The registration is issued in the name of the organization and in the name of the president or chief executive officer of the organization;

(2) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department; or

(3) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to the Fire Marshal and any member of the Fire and Arson Investigation Unit of the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, who is designated in writing by the Fire Chief, for the purpose of enforcing the arson and fire safety laws of the District of Columbia.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any law enforcement officer or agent of the District or the United States, or any law enforcement officer or agent of the government of any state or subdivision thereof, or any member of the armed forces of the United States, the National Guard or organized reserves, when such officer, agent, or member is authorized to possess such a firearm or device while on duty in the performance of official authorized functions;

(2) Any person holding a dealer’s license; provided, that the firearm or destructive device is:

(A) Acquired by such person in the normal conduct of business;

(B) Kept at the place described in the dealer’s license; and

(C) Not kept for such person’s private use or protection, or for the protection of his business;

(3) With respect to firearms, any nonresident of the District participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity in the District, or on his way to or from such activity in another jurisdiction; provided, that such person, whenever in possession of a firearm, shall upon demand of any member of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other bona fide law enforcement officer, exhibit proof that he is on his way to or from such activity, and that his possession or control of such firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he resides; provided further, that such weapon shall be unloaded, securely wrapped, and carried in open view.

§ 7-2502.02. Registration of certain firearms prohibited

(a) A registration certificate shall not be issued for a:

(1) Sawed-off shotgun;

(2) Machine gun;

(3) Short-barreled rifle; or

(4) Pistol not validly registered to the current registrant in the District prior to September 24, 1976, except that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any organization that employs at least 1 commissioned special police officer or other employee licensed to carry a firearm and that arms the employee with a firearm during the employee’s duty hours or to a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prevent a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department from registering a pistol.

§ 7-2502.03. Qualifications for registration; information required for registration

(a) No registration certificate shall be issued to any person (and in the case of a person between the ages of 18 and 21, to the person and his signatory parent or guardian) or organization unless the Chief determines that such person (or the president or chief executive in the case of an organization):

(1) Is 21 years of age or older; provided, that the Chief may issue to an applicant between the ages of 18 and 21 years old, and who is otherwise qualified, a registration certificate if the application is accompanied by a notarized statement of the applicant’s parent or guardian:

(A) That the applicant has the permission of his parent or guardian to own and use the firearm to be registered; and

(B) The parent or guardian assumes civil liability for all damages resulting from the actions of such applicant in the use of the firearm to be registered; provided further, that such registration certificate shall expire on such person’s 21st birthday;

(2) Has not been convicted of a crime of violence, weapons offense, or of a violation of this unit;

(3) Is not under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense;

(4) Has not been convicted within 5 years prior to the application of any:

(A) Violation in any jurisdiction of any law restricting the use, possession, or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug; or

(B) A violation of § 22-407, regarding threats to do bodily harm, or § 22-404, regarding assaults and threats, or any similar provision of the law of any other jurisdiction so as to indicate a likelihood to make unlawful use of a firearm;

(5) Within the 5-year period immediately preceding the application, has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court; provided, that this paragraph shall not apply if such person shall present to the Chief, with the application, a medical certification indicating that the applicant has recovered from such insanity or alcoholic condition and is capable of safe and responsible possession of a firearm;

(6) Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution; provided, that this paragraph shall not apply, if such person shall present to the Chief, with the application, a medical certification that the applicant has recovered from whatever malady prompted such commitment;

(7) Does not appear to suffer from a physical defect which would tend to indicate that the applicant would not be able to possess and use a firearm safely and responsibly;

(8) Has not been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury to another human being;

(9) Is not otherwise ineligible to possess a pistol under § 22-4503;

(10) Has not failed to demonstrate satisfactorily a knowledge of the laws of the District of Columbia pertaining to firearms and the safe and responsible use of the same in accordance with tests and standards prescribed by the Chief; provided, that once this determination is made with respect to a given applicant for a particular type of firearm, it need not be made again for the same applicant with respect to a subsequent application for the same type of firearms; provided, further, that this paragraph shall not apply with respect to any firearm reregistered pursuant to § 7-2502.06; and

(11) Has vision better than or equal to that required to obtain a valid driver’s license under the laws of the District of Columbia; provided, that current licensure by the District of Columbia, of the applicant to drive, shall be prima facie evidence that such applicant’s vision is sufficient and; provided further, that this determination shall not be made with respect to persons applying to reregister any firearm pursuant to § 7-2502.06.

(b) Every person applying for a registration certificate shall provide on a form prescribed by the Chief:

(1) The full name or any other name by which the applicant is known;

(2) The present address and each home address where the applicant has resided during the 5-year period immediately preceding the application;

(3) The present business or occupation and any business or occupation in which the applicant has engaged during the 5-year period immediately preceding the application and the addresses of such businesses or places of employment;

(4) The date and place of birth of the applicant;

(5) The sex of the applicant;

(6) Whether (and if so, the reasons) the District, the United States or the government of any state or subdivision of any state has denied or revoked the applicant’s license, registration certificate, or permit pertaining to any firearm;

(7) A description of the applicant’s role in any mishap involving a firearm, including the date, place, time, circumstances, and the names of the persons injured or killed;

(8) The intended use of the firearm;

(9) The caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s identification number, serial number, and any other identifying marks on the firearm;

(10) The name and address of the person or organization from whom the firearm was obtained, and in the case of a dealer, his dealer’s license number;

(11) Where the firearm will generally be kept;

(12) Whether the applicant has applied for other registration certificates issued and outstanding;

(13) Such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of this unit.

(c) Every organization applying for a registration certificate shall:

(1) With respect to the president or chief executive of such organization, comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section; and

(2) Provide such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of this unit.

§ 7-2502.04. Fingerprints and photographs of applicants; application in person required

(a) The Chief may require any person applying for a registration certificate to be fingerprinted if, in his judgment, this is necessary to conduct an efficient and adequate investigation into the matters described in § 7-2502.03 and to effectuate the purpose of this unit; provided, that any person who has been fingerprinted by the Chief within 5 years prior to submitting the application need not, in the Chief’s discretion, be fingerprinted again if he offers other satisfactory proof of identity.

(b) Each applicant, other than an organization, shall submit with the application 2 full-face photographs of himself, 1 3/4 by 1 7/8 inches in size which shall have been taken within the 30-day period immediately preceding the filing of the application.

(c) Every applicant (or in the case of an organization, the president or chief executive, or a person authorized in writing by him), shall appear in person at a time and place prescribed by the Chief, and may be required to bring with him the firearm for which a registration certificate is sought, which shall be unloaded and securely wrapped, and carried in open view.

§ 7-2502.05. Application signed under oath; fees

(a) Each applicant (the president or chief executive in the case of an organization) shall sign an oath or affirmation attesting to the truth of all the information required by § 7-2502.03.

(b) Each application required by this subchapter shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee to be established by the Mayor; provided, that such fee shall, in the judgment of the Mayor, reimburse the District for the cost of services provided under this subchapter.

§ 7-2502.06. Time for filing registration applications

(a) An application for a registration certificate shall be filed (and a registration certificate issued) prior to taking possession of a firearm from a licensed dealer or from any person or organization holding a registration certificate therefor. In all other cases, an application for registration shall be filed immediately after a firearm is brought into the District. It shall be deemed compliance with the preceding sentence if such person personally communicates with the Metropolitan Police Department (as determined by the Chief to be sufficient) and provides such information as may be demanded; provided, that such person files an application for a registration certificate within 48 hours after such communication.

(b) Any firearm validly registered under prior regulations must be registered pursuant to this unit in accordance with procedures to be promulgated by the Chief. An application to register such firearm shall be filed pursuant to this unit within 60 days of September 24, 1976.

§ 7-2502.07. Issuance of registration certificate; time period; corrections

(a) Upon receipt of a properly executed application for registration certificate, the Chief, upon determining through inquiry, investigation, or otherwise, that the applicant is entitled and qualified under the provisions of this unit, thereto, shall issue a registration certificate. Each registration certificate shall be in duplicate and bear a unique registration certificate number and such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to identify the applicant and the firearm registered. The duplicate of the registration certificate shall be delivered to the applicant and the Chief shall retain the original.

(b) The Chief shall approve or deny an application for a registration certificate within a 60-day period beginning on the date the Chief receives the application, unless good cause is shown, including nonreceipt of information from sources outside the District government; provided, that in the case of an application to register a firearm validly registered under prior regulations, the Chief shall have 365 days after the receipt of such application to approve or deny such application. The Chief may hold in abeyance an application where there is a revocation proceeding pending against such person or organization.

(c) Upon receipt of a registration certificate, each applicant shall examine same to ensure that the information thereon is correct. If the registration certificate is incorrect in any respect, the person or organization named thereon shall return it to the Chief with a signed statement showing the nature of the error. The Chief shall correct the error, if it occurred through administrative error. In the event the error resulted from information contained in the application, the applicant shall be required to file an amended application setting forth the correct information, and a statement explaining the error in the original application. Each amended application shall be accompanied by a fee equal to that required for the original application.

(d) In the event the Chief learns of an error in a registration certificate other than as provided in subsection (c) of this section, he may require the holder to return the registration certificate for correction. If the error resulted from information contained in the application, the person or organization named therein shall be required to file an amended application as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

(e) Each registration certificate issued by the Chief shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the registrant’s duties under this unit.

(f) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, a registration certificate may be issued to a retired police officer who is a resident of the District of Columbia for a pistol and ammunition which conforms to the Metropolitan Police Department General Orders and policies.

(g) When the retired police officer ceases to be a resident of the District of Columbia the registration certificate expires.

(h) Nothing in this unit shall create an entitlement to a registration certificate for a retired police officer. If the Chief of Police denies a retired police officer’s registration certificate application, the Chief of Police shall state the reasons for the denial in writing.

(i) The District of Columbia shall not incur any liability by reason of the issuance or denial of a certificate, nor for any use made of the registered firearm.

§ 7-2502.08. Duties of registrants

Each person and organization holding a registration certificate, in addition to any other requirements imposed by this unit, or the acts of Congress, shall:

(1) Notify the Chief in writing of:

(A) The loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm (including the circumstances, if known) immediately upon discovery of such loss, theft, or destruction;

(B) A change in any of the information appearing on the registration certificate or required by § 7-2502.03;

(C) The sale, transfer or other disposition of the firearm not less than 48 hours prior to delivery, pursuant to such sale, transfer or other disposition, including:

(i) Identification of the registrant, the firearm and the serial number of the registration certificate;

(ii) The name, residence, and business address and date of birth of the person to whom the firearm has been sold or transferred; and

(iii) Whether the firearm was sold or how it was otherwise transferred or disposed of.

(2) Return to the Chief, the registration certificate for any firearm which is lost, stolen, destroyed, or otherwise transferred or disposed of, at the time he notifies the Chief of such loss, theft, destruction, sale, transfer, or other disposition.

(3) Have in his possession, whenever in possession of a firearm, the registration certificate for such firearm, and exhibit the same upon the demand of a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other law enforcement officer.

§ 7-2502.09. Revocation of registration certificate

A registration certificate shall be revoked if:

(1) Any of the criteria in § 7-2502.03 are not currently met;

(2) The registered firearm has become an unregisterable firearm under the terms of § 7-2502.02, or a destructive device;

(3) The information furnished to the Chief on the application for a registration certificate proves to be intentionally false; or

(4) There is a violation or omission of the duties, obligations or requirements imposed by § 7-2502.08.

§ 7-2502.10. Procedure for denial and revocation of registration certificate

(a) If it appears to the Chief that an application for a registration certificate should be denied or that a registration certificate should be revoked, the Chief shall notify the applicant or registrant of the proposed denial or revocation, briefly stating the reason or reasons therefor. Service may be made by delivering a copy of the notice to the applicant or registrant personally, or by leaving a copy thereof at the place of residence identified on the application or registration with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail to the residence address identified on the application or certificate, in which case service shall be complete as of the date the return receipt was signed. In the case of an organization, service may be made upon the president, chief executive, or other officer, managing agent or person authorized by appointment or law to receive such notice as described in the preceding sentence at the business address of the organization identified in the application or registration certificate. The person serving the notice shall make proof thereof with the Chief in a manner prescribed by him. In the case of service by certified mail, the signed return receipt shall be filed with the Chief together with a signed statement showing the date such notice was mailed; and if the return receipt does not purport to be signed by the person named in the notice, then specific facts from which the Chief can determine that the person who signed the receipt meets the appropriate qualifications for receipt of such notice set out in this subsection. The applicant or registrant shall have 15 days from the date the notice is served in which to submit further evidence in support of the application or qualifications to continue to hold a registration certificate, as the case may be; provided, that if the applicant does not make such a submission within 15 days from the date of service, the applicant or registrant shall be deemed to have conceded the validity of the reason or reasons stated in the notice, and the denial of revocation shall become final.

(b) Within 10 days of the date upon which the Chief receives such a submission, he shall serve upon the applicant or registrant in the manner specified in subsection (a) of this section notice of his final decision. The Chief’s decision shall become effective at the expiration of the time within which to file a notice of appeal pursuant to the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act (§ 2-501 et seq.) or, if such a notice of appeal is filed, at the time the final order or judgment of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals becomes effective.

(c) Within 7 days of a decision unfavorable to the applicant or registrant becoming final, the applicant or registrant shall:

(1) Peaceably surrender to the Chief the firearm for which the registration certificate was revoked in the manner provided in § 7-2507.05; or

(2) Lawfully remove such firearm from the District for so long as he has an interest in such firearm; or

(3) Otherwise lawfully dispose of his interest in such firearm.

§ 7-2506.01. Persons permitted to possess ammunition

No person shall possess ammunition in the District of Columbia unless:

(1) He is a licensed dealer pursuant to subchapter IV of this unit;

(2) He is an officer, agent, or employee of the District of Columbia or the United States of America, on duty and acting within the scope of his duties when possessing such ammunition;

(3) He is the holder of the valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same gauge or caliber as the ammunition he possesses; except, that no such person shall possess restricted pistol bullets; or

(4) He holds an ammunition collector’s certificate on September 24, 1976.

§ 7-2507.02 Firearms required to be unloaded and disassembled or locked

Except for law enforcement personnel described in § 7-2502.01(b)(1), each registrant shall keep any firearm in his possession unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device unless such firearm is kept at his place of business, or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia.

 

§ 7-2507.06. Penalties

Any person convicted of a violation of any provision of this unit shall be fined not more than $ 1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both; except that:

(1) A person who knowingly or intentionally sells, transfers, or distributes a firearm, destructive device, or ammunition to a person under 18 years of age shall be fined not more than $ 10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, any person who is convicted a second time for possessing an unregistered firearm shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(B) A person who in the person’s dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, possesses a pistol, or firearm that could otherwise be registered, shall be fined not more than $ 1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

(3) A person convicted of knowingly possessing restricted pistol bullets in violation of § 7-2506.01(3) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 10 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 1 year and shall not be released from prison or granted probation or suspension of sentence prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence, and, in addition, may be fined an amount not to exceed $ 10,000.

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§ 22-4504. Carrying concealed weapons; possession of weapons during commission of crime of violence; penalty

(a) No person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed. Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515, except that:

(1) A person who violates this section by carrying a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon, in a place other than the person’s dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, shall be fined not more than $ 5,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both; or

(2) If the violation of this section occurs after a person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or another jurisdiction, the person shall be fined not more than $ 10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rifle, or any other firearm or imitation firearm while committing a crime of violence or dangerous crime as defined in § 22-4501. Upon conviction of a violation of this subsection, the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 5 years and shall not be released on parole, or granted probation or suspension of sentence, prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence.