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Legal Information: District of Columbia

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
October 29, 2020

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

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

  • 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”; or
  • has been convicted of a misdemeanor “intrafamily offense” (domestic violence) within the past five years, or any similar offense in another state.1

Also, under Washington, D.C. law, a person has to first apply for a registration certificate before legally owning a firearm. The following additional people (aside from those listed above) should be denied the certificate according to Washington, D.C. law, and therefore, cannot legally possess a firearm:

  • someone convicted of a felony in any state;
  • someone convicted of or under indictment for a weapons offense (with the exception of certain infractions or misdemeanor weapons offenses);
  • someone under indictment for a crime of violence;
  • someone convicted within the past five years of:
  • someone who, within the past five years, was acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity (unless the person presents a medical certification that s/he has recovered from the insanity).2

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if you have a restraining order against him/her that meets certain requirements. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

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