Legal Information: District of Columbia

State Gun Laws

May 10, 2016

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

It depends.  Under Washington, D.C. law, it is illegal (a crime) for the following people to own a firearm.  Anyone who:

  • has been convicted in any court of a felony crime;
  • is not licensed to sell weapons and has been convicted of violating that law;
  • is a "fugitive from justice”;
  • has been convicted of a domestic violence offense (“intrafamily offense”) within the past 5 years, punishable as a misdemeanor, or any similar provision offense in another state.*

Also, under Washington, D.C. law, a person has to first apply for a registration certificate before legally owning a firearm.  The following convicted criminals should be denied the certificate according to the law and, therefore, cannot legally possess a firearm:

  • someone convicted of a felony in any state;
  • someone convicted of (or under indictment for) a crime of violence or a weapons offense (with the exception of certain infractions or misdemeanor weapons offenses);
  • someone convicted within the past 5 years of:
    • a drug crime;
    • assault, stalking, threats to do bodily harm or something similar in another state;
    • two or more incidents of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
    • the misdemeanor offense of improper storage of a firearm;
    • domestic violence offense (“intrafamily offense”) punishable as a misdemeanor; or
  • someone who, within the past 5 years, was acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity.**

* DC Code § 22-4503(a)
** DC Code § 7-2502.03(a)