Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in the District of Columbia below.

Permitting in Washington, D.C.

Open carry is illegal in Washington, D.C. Concealed carry is legal in the district with a concealed carry pistol license (CCPL). CCPLs are issued to residents and non-residents who are at least 21 years old, and permits require a firearms training course that has been approved by Metro Police. Any firearm carried in the district must be registered in the district. The District of Columbia does not honor CCW licenses from any other state.

In addition, possession of ammunition for an unregistered firearm is prohibited in the District of Columbia.

A person 18 years or older may possess a stun gun or Taser; however, it may only be used to protect one’s self or one’s property and is not allowed in some locations. Possession and use of self-defense sprays is lawful only as reasonable force to defend a person or his or her property.

If you purchase a firearm in the District of Columbia or move to the District of Columbia with a firearm, you must register your firearm with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). This process must be completed before a licensed dealer is legally allowed to release a firearm to you after a purchase. All firearms sales, including private sales, must be conducted through a licensed dealer and require a background check and online training. The Metro Police Department maintains a roster of handguns that can be registered in the district. There is a 10-day waiting period for handguns. A purchaser must be at least 21 years old to purchase or possess a handgun.

Ammunition magazine capacities are restricted to no more than 10 rounds. A person must have a registration certificate for a firearm in order to purchase ammunition. There is a limit to how many rounds of ammunition can be carried as well as restricted pistol bullets prohibited in the district.

Where Can or Can’t One Carry in Washington, D.C.?

Anyone with a CCPL from the district may carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle. Without a license, the firearm must be unloaded and inside a locked container other than the glove compartment or console and separate from ammunition.

Locations where carry is prohibited, even for permit holders, include:

  • The public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin and any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law or by a federal agency or entity, including U.S. Capitol buildings and grounds
  • The White House Complex and its grounds
  • On the premises of the Smithsonian
  • The U.S. Naval Observatory and its fence line
  • Any place while consuming alcohol or while impaired
  • Any premises, or portion thereof, where alcohol is served or sold and consumed on the premises (although there are exceptions for on-premises retailers with specific classes of licenses)
  • The building and grounds, including any adjacent parking lot, of any child care facility, preschool, public or private elementary or secondary school, or a public or private college or university
  • A building or office occupied by the District of Columbia, its agencies or instrumentalities
  • A hospital or an office where medical or mental health services are the primary services provided
  • A penal institution, secure juvenile residential facility or halfway house
  • A polling place while voting is occurring
  • A public transportation vehicle, including the Metrorail transit system and its stations
  • A stadium or arena
  • A public gathering with posted signage prohibiting the carrying of pistols
  • Within 1,000 feet of a dignitary or high-ranking official of the United States or a state, local or foreign government that is moving under the protection of law enforcement
  • Within a perimeter of 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place posted as off-limits to firearms or by officer’s order
  • Private residential property, unless otherwise authorized by the property owner or person in residential property
  • A place of religious worship, unless authorized or if the property is posted with conspicuous signage allowing the carrying of a concealed pistol
  • Non-residential property that is posted with conspicuous signage prohibiting the carrying of a concealed pistol
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Visit the USCCA Washington, D.C. gun laws page now…