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Legal Information: District of Columbia

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of April 5, 2024

I have a civil protection order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

Under Washington, D.C. law, it is illegal for a person to have a gun if s/he is subject to a civil protection order that:

  • was issued after a hearing that the respondent received actual notice of, and at which the respondent had an opportunity to participate; or remained in effect after the respondent failed to appear for a hearing that s/he was notified of;
  • restrains the respondent from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening the petitioner or any other person named in the order; or requires the person to stay away from, or have no contact with, any other person or a location; and
  • requires the respondent to give up possession of any firearms.1

Also, under Washington, D.C. law, a person has to first apply for a registration certificate before legally owning a firearm. Anyone who had a final civil protection order against him/her in any state within the past five years or someone who currently has a final civil protection order or an ex parte or final extreme risk protection order against him/her should be denied the registration certificate. Therefore, the person cannot legally possess a firearm.2

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

1 DC Code § 22-4503(a)
2 DC Code § 7-2502.03(a)