I can legally carry a concealed firearm in District of Columbia, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
Based on our most recent research, the USCCA has identified just two states with statutes against carrying a concealed firearm while wearing a mask: California and Illinois (although sheriffs and county prosecutors in Illinois have made statements indicating that wearing a mask to protect others from COVID-19 while carrying a gun isn’t illegal as long as the wearer isn’t wearing the mask while committing a crime). Due to the large number of inquiries, some states have publicly addressed their laws regarding wearing masks, clarifying that they actually refer to individuals concealing their identity with the intention to commit illegal acts or to specifically hide their identity, and do not address wearing a mask while legally carrying a concealed firearm. Although there is no mention of carrying firearms, the following D.C. code that references the wearing of masks was identified. Per § 22-3312.03, it is illegal to wear any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer while engaged in conduct prohibited by civil or criminal law, with the intent of avoiding identification.
If you have further questions, we recommend that you reach out to your local law enforcement office, or district attorney.
District of Columbia Concealed Carry Pistol Licenses (CCPLs) are required in order to concealed carry and are issued to residents and non-residents and require a firearms training course that has been approved by the Metro Police. You must be at least 21 years old to get a concealed carry permit in D.C. Any firearm you plan on carrying in Washington D.C. will also need to be registered in the District. In addition, possession of ammunition for an unregistered firearm is prohibited in the District of Columbia. Some areas are off-limits even with a D.C. CCPL, including schools, public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin and the area around the White House. In terms of reciprocity, Washington D.C. does not honor CCW licenses from any other state.
Under the case law of the District of Columbia, the District is neither a “stand your ground” nor a “duty to retreat” jurisdiction. The District case law has established a middle ground.
Based on case law and jury instructions, you are entitled to claim self-defense:
If you actually believe you are in imminent danger of bodily harm; and
If you have reasonable grounds for that belief.
You may use the amount of force which, at the time of the incident, you actually and reasonably believe is necessary to protect yourself (or a third person) from imminent bodily harm. This may extend to the use of deadly force if you actually and reasonably believe you are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which you can save yourself only by using deadly force against your assailant. You should take reasonable steps, such as stepping back or walking away, to avoid the necessity of taking a human life, so long as those steps are consistent with your own safety. However, you do not have to retreat or consider retreating when you actually and reasonably believe that you are in danger of death or serious bodily harm and that deadly force is necessary to repel that danger. Generally, you may not use deadly force to protect your property.
If District of Columbia requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?
D.C. is a shall issue jurisdiction.
Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?
What is the minimum age in District of Columbia to get a concealed carry permit?
You must be at least 21 years old to get a concealed carry permit in D.C.
Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in District of Columbia with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
No. A concealed weapons permit does not allow you to carry weapons other than handguns.
Tasers or Stun Guns?
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in District of Columbia?
Yes. A person 18 years or older may possess a stun gun in the District of Columbia, although it may only be used to protect themselves or their property. No one other than a law enforcement officer is allowed to possess a stun gun in a building or office occupied by the District of Columbia government, a penal institution, secure juvenile residential facility, a halfway house, any building that is occupied by a children’s facility, preschool, elementary or secondary school, or any building or grounds in which the owner or occupant clearly posts forbidding the carrying of a stun gun.
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in District of Columbia?
Yes, a person may use a self-defense spray only as reasonable force to defend themselves or their property. However, it must be propelled from an aerosol container and there are restrictions on the chemical mixtures, labeling and dating.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in District of Columbia?
Private persons or entities owning property in the District of Columbia may prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on their property. The individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Does District of Columbia have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
Title 7 Subtitle J Chpt. 25 § 7-2509.07. Prohibitions on carrying licensed pistols. (c) Whenever a licensee carries a concealed pistol and approaches any prohibited location, or is subject to any prohibited circumstance, under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the licensee shall:
(1) If the licensee is in a vehicle or if a vehicle is readily available, immediately secure the pistol in the following manner - unloaded, with neither the firearm nor any ammunition readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment ; or
(2) If the licensee does not have a vehicle available, immediately leave the prohibited location or circumstance.
Any person who is not otherwise prohibited by the law from transporting, shipping or receiving a firearm shall be permitted to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm if the firearm is transported in accordance with this section.
If the transportation of the firearm is by a vehicle, the firearm shall be unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported shall be readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the transporting vehicle.
If the transporting vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the driver's compartment, the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console, and the firearm shall be unloaded.
If the transportation of the firearm is in a manner other than in a vehicle, the firearm shall be:
Does District of Columbia have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
No more than 10 rounds.
The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
Does District of Columbia have ammunition restrictions?
Yes. In order to possess ammunition, a person must have a registration certificate for a firearm. Licensed dealers may transfer ammunition only to the registered owner of a firearm of the same caliber or gauge as the ammunition, or to a nonresident of the District who provides proof that the weapon is lawfully possessed and is of the same gauge or caliber as the ammunition to be purchased.
In addition, a person with a CCPL may not carry any "restricted pistol bullet" as that term is defined in DC Code and cannot carry more ammunition than is required to fully load the pistol twice, and in no event shall that amount be greater than 20 rounds of ammunition.
Does District of Columbia have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
Does not apply. Washington D.C. does not have preemption laws.
Red Flag Law?
Does District of Columbia have a red flag law?
Yes. Family members, cohabitants, mental health professionals and law enforcement are allowed to petition for an order to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearms, ammunition, registration certificates, licenses to carry a concealed pistol, or dealer's licenses in the respondent’s possession. The respondent is prohibited from purchasing or possessing any firearm or ammunition for the duration of the interim and or final extreme risk protection order.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
District of Columbia Permit Exempts from Background Check?
Does my current District of Columbia concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in District of Columbia?
Yes. There is a 10-day waiting period.
Do handguns need to be registered in District of Columbia?
Yes. All firearms must be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department. A background check and online training are required.
Approved Handgun List?
Does District of Columbia have a list of handguns approved for registration?
Yes. The Metropolitan Police Department maintains a roster of "handguns not determined to be unsafe" that includes the approved handgun rosters from California, Maryland and Massachusetts. Handguns with superficial differences from handguns on the roster – such as color or grip material – can be registered. Handguns that are removed from the California list for administrative reasons remain on the District list.
Possess a handgun on my private property without a permit?
Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a permit?
No. In order for an individual to possess a firearm in their home or place of business, the firearm must first be registered with the D.C. Metro Police Department. In addition, a registration permit does not allow someone to take a firearm outside of those two locations.
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.
Not all firearms are eligible for registration or legal to own in the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia utilizes firearms lists approved by the states of California, Massachusetts and Maryland. A firearm does not need to be found on all three lists in order to be eligible for registration in the District. The MPD website includes a complete list of approved firearms.
To register a firearm in the District of Columbia an individual must complete a Firearms Statement of Eligibility Form. You will turn in this form along with an Application for Firearms Registration Certificate Form at the time that you apply for registration. Note that both the seller and the purchaser must complete portions of the Firearms Registration Certificate Form. Both forms can be found on the MPD website.
An individual must also obtain a certificate of completion from a free, 30-minute online Firearms Safety Training Course through the Metropolitan Police Department. This requirement may also be fulfilled by providing evidence that the applicant has received firearms training in the U.S. Military or if the applicant possesses a license or permit from a state with similar or stricter education requirements.
Completed applications must be brought in person to the Metropolitan Police Department - Firearms Regulation Section along with a photo ID, proof of residency in the District of Columbia and proof that you have met the MPD’s education and training requirements.
Next, you must pay the application fee and submit to fingerprinting for a background check. Your application will either be approved or denied within five business days. You must then bring your certificate of registration to the licensed dealer, who will release the firearm to you no sooner than ten days after the initial purchase was made.
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Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.
States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with District of Columbia
District of Columbia offers resident and non-resident permits. If indicated with “Resident only” below, that state only honors District of Columbia resident permits (and not those issued to non-residents).
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Washington D.C. grants permits to non-residents, but any firearm you plan on carrying in Washington D.C. will need to be registered in the District. The process is the same as for residents.
Contact the D.C. Metropolitan Police for instructions.
Upon discovery of such loss, notify the chief in writing of the loss, theft or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm. Return the registration certificate to the chief.
Moving to District of Columbia and interested in applying for a resident license? How soon can you apply? District of Columbia issues licenses to both residents and non-residents. Since the District doesn't distinguish between resident and non-resident licenses, you can apply for your license at any time.
Moving from District of Columbia and have a District of Columbia resident license? Does that license transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your District of Columbia license remains valid? If a person with a District of Columbia pistol license establishes residency in another state, the pistol license is valid until it expires provided you notify the D.C. Metro Police of any change of address.
Firearms Training Requirements in District of Columbia
An applicant must also complete a firearms training course certified by the chief, which includes at least 16 hours of training and covers the following:
Basic principles of marksmanship;
Care, cleaning, maintenance, loading, unloading and storage of pistols;
Situational awareness, conflict management and use of deadly force;
Selection of pistols and ammunition for defensive purposes; and
All applicable District and federal firearms laws and District law pertaining to self-defense.
At least 2 hours of range training must also be completed and conducted by an instructor certified by the chief, that includes live fire exercises.
Potential Exemption – Per D.C. Code of Municipal Regulations 2336.3, the Chief may, on a case by case basis, exempt a person from the training requirements if the person submits evidence that he or she has received firearms training that is equal to or greater than that required by the Act.
A renewal applicant must complete 4 hours of firearm safety training and 2 hours of range practice within the previous 12 months.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
Retired and separated law enforcement officers (RLEOs) may obtain a concealed carry pistol license from the Metro Police Department. As of 5/21/2019 the D.C. circuit court ruled that retired D.C. corrections officers may carry concealed weapons under LEOSA. Concealed Carry Pistol License application instructions Concealed Carry Pistol License application
RLEOs who have a license to carry a pistol under HR-218 must renew their license on a yearly basis. MPD offers an online renewal service that allows you to complete the required form and submit it along with your payment for processing. The Firearms Registration Unit staff will review your submitted application and send a reply to your request through the online portal. Once your renewal application has been approved, a new license will be mailed to you. As an additional convenience, you may use the site to update your license details, including your address.
Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in District of Columbia?
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? No.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? No.
Carry in my place of business and my home? Yes, with a D.C. Pistol License.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Does not apply.
Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in District of Columbia?
Places off-limits even with a permit/license
A person issued a concealed carry license shall not carry more ammunition than is required to fully load the pistol twice, and in no event shall that amount be greater than 20 rounds of ammunition [D.C. Admin. Code § 24-2343.1];
A person issued a concealed carry license may not carry any restricted pistol bullet as that term is defined in the Act [D.C. Code § 7-2501.01(2)];
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;
Any premises, or portion thereof, where alcohol is served, or sold and consumed, on the premises (restaurants that sell alcohol are allowed);
A stadium or arena;
A public gathering or special event open to the public when the organizer has provided notice and posted signage prohibiting the carrying of pistols in advance of the gathering or special event;
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, up to and including the curb of the adjacent sidewalks touching the roadways of the area bounded by Constitution Avenue, N.W.; 15th Street, N.W.; H Street, N.W.; and 17th Street, N.W.;
The U.S. Naval Observatory and its fence line, including the area from the perimeter of its fence up to and including the curb of the adjacent sidewalks touching the roadway of Observatory Circle, from Calvert Street, N.W. to Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., and around Observatory Circle to the far corner of Observatory Lane;
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;
A demonstration in a public place (within a perimeter of 1,000 feet designated by a law enforcement agency, and notice has been given by signs or an officer’s order);
Private residential property, unless otherwise authorized by the property owner or person in residential property;
A place of religious worship, unless the property is posted with conspicuous signage allowing the carrying of a concealed pistol, or the owner or authorized agent communicates such allowance personally to the licensee in advance of entry onto the property;
Non-residential property that is posted with conspicuous signage prohibiting the carrying of a concealed pistol; and
FAQ: District of Columbia Concealed Carry Questions
What Are the Knife Laws in District of Columbia?
It is illegal to concealed carry 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, except for a handgun carried by a person with a District of Columbia Concealed Carry Pistol License. It is illegal to possess a blackjack, slungshot, sand club, sandbag or switchblade knife. It is illegal to possess, with the intent to use unlawfully against another person, a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches or other dangerous weapon. You may not possess a deadly weapon in safe school or recreation zones.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
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