District of Columbia Gun Laws

Gun Control Laws in District of Columbia

The District of Columbia’s gun laws have been highly disputed until recently. In 1976 the state ruled that city residents could not own handguns. After three lawsuits, that ended in 2008 the Supreme Court finally ruled this law unconstitutional. As of 2017, the District of Columbia is a “Shall Issue” state. All guns must be registered with the state, and some restrictions on types of guns exist. This registration becomes a gun owner's permit for open and concealed carry. Guns that hold more than ten rounds like assault weapons are illegal in D.C., and you cannot own ammunition until you have a registered firearm. The District of Columbia also has strict laws about how you store your guns especially if minors (anyone under the age of 18) live in your home. Local police departments handle registration of firearms. When applying for gun registration, the applicant must be fingerprinted, photographed and take a gun safety course. There is also a ten-day waiting period to purchase any firearms in the state of District of Columbia.

DC CCW Reciprocity Map

The District of Columbia refuses to honor any other state’s gun permits. However, you can use your out-of-state CCW to obtain a gun permit in D.C. The following states honor a D.C. weapons permit for residents Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. The following states honor a D.C. concealed weapons permit for non-residents of the state Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. Twenty-nine state refuse to recognize a D.C. gun permit and they are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

District of Columbia Concealed Carry Laws and Permit

Washington D.C. is a “Shall Issue” state, and you must register all firearms before applying for a pistol license. D.C. does issue them to non-residents, but the same requirements and restrictions apply. You must also undergo a firearms training course by a certified Metropolitan Police Department representative. When issued a CCW, you may not carry with you enough ammunition to load the gun twice. It is illegal to carry your weapon when you are drinking or impaired in any way. It is also unlawful to carry in or around any government building, within 1000 feet of any school, daycare, library, playground, or university. You also cannot carry in a hospital, polling center, prison, jail or courthouse. You cannot carry anywhere that alcohol is served or purchased or on public transportation. In D.C. it is illegal to carry a firearm to any arena, sporting event, or gathering open to the public, the White House or anywhere near the U.S. Naval Observatory. There are dozens of restrictions like you cannot carry on anyone’s private property, to a demonstration, and to any church. You may not open carry anywhere in the state.

CCW Eligibility: Qualify or Pre-Qualify?

To get a concealed carry license in D.C., you must follow a list of requirements. First, you must be at least twenty-one years old. You must have also passed the registration process for owning a firearm. You must possess at least one pistol that is registered with the state. For the past five years, you must not have suffered from or been diagnosed with any mental illness that poses a danger to others or yourself. You must also complete a certified gun-training course. You must either be a resident of D.C. or own a business in the state. You must also prove a good reason for wanting to own a gun. You must also be considered a “suitable person” by the state and follow all federal gun regulations.

District of Columbia Gun Background Check

Licensed firearms dealers in Washington D.C. are required to contact the FBI and perform a background check on every person who purchases a gun. D.C. is not a “point of contact” state and needs no state-level background check when purchasing a firearm. However, the state does require every gun to be registered with the state, and during that process, the police department will need to do a background check, photograph and fingerprint you.

CCW Permit Information


  • Is at least 21 years of age;
  • Meets all of the requirements for a person registering a firearm.
  • Possesses a registered pistol, or register one at time of CCL application.
  • Does not currently suffer nor has suffered in the previous five (5) years from any mental illness or condition that creates a substantial risk that he or she is a danger to himself or herself or others provided that if the person no longer suffers such mental illness or condition, and that person has provided satisfactory documentation required under § 2337.3, then the Chief may determine that this requirement has been met.
  • Has completed a firearms training course, or combination of courses.
  • Has a bona fide residence or place of business;
  • Within the District of Columbia.
  • Within the United States and a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by the lawful authorities of any State or subdivision of the United States; or
  • Within the United States and meets all registration and licensing requirements.
  • Has demonstrated to the Chief good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol and
  • Is a suitable person to be so licensed.
  • Federal law requirements


  1. Complete your firearm training course
  2. Download the application and instructions from under the FORMS tab.
  3. The instructions are quite lengthy but you must read them.
  4. Bring all the items noted in the instructions to the Firearms Registration Section at ; Room 3058, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
  5. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. When you submit your application to the Firearms Registration Section, you will be photographed and fingerprinted (if your fingerprints are not already on file with the Metropolitan Police Department).
  6. You will be notified within 60 days by mail if your application has been approved or denied.


  • Concealed carry licenses in Washington DC must be renewed every 2 years.
  • There is a retraining course required for all renewals. The cost ranges from $125-$150.

District of Columbia CCW License Fee information

Permit type Fees when getting a new permit Renewal Current license amendment Fingerprint scan fee Fee for firearm classes Additional state fees
Firearms registration (required for purchase of firearm) $13.00 There is a retraining course required for all renewals. The cost ranges from $125-$150. $250.00 Additional fees – If your fingerprints are not on file, you will be required to pay an additional $35
$275 to $340 for a training certificate with average cost around $300.
Concealed Carry Pistol License | Standart License $75.00 There is a retraining course required for all renewals. The cost ranges from $125-$150. $250.00 Additional fees – If your fingerprints are not on file, you will be required to pay an additional $35
$275 to $340 for a training certificate with average cost around $300.

Places Where You Can & Can’t Carry a Gun in District of Columbia

Allowed Forbidden
Within the registrant's home A person issued a concealed carry license by the Chief, while carrying the pistol, shall not carry more ammunition than is required to fully load the pistol twice, and in no event shall that amount be greater than twenty (20) rounds of ammunition
While it is being used for lawful recreational purposes A person issued a concealed carry license by the Chief may not carry any restricted pistol bullet as that term is defined in the Act
While it is kept at the registrant's place of business A licensee shall not carry a pistol while he or she is consuming alcohol
While it is being transported for a lawful purpose A licensee shall not carry a pistol while impaired
The carrying of a concealed pistol on private property that is not a residence shall be presumed to be permitted unless the property is posted with conspicuous signage prohibiting the carrying of a concealed pistol A building or office occupied by the District of Columbia, its agencies, or instrumentalities
The building and grounds, including any adjacent parking lot, of a childcare facility, preschool, public or private elementary or secondary school or a public or private college or university
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
A stadium or arena
A gathering or special event open to the public
The public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin
Any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law or by a federal agency or entity
The White House Complex and its grounds
The U.S. Naval Observatory and its fence line
Within 1000 feet distance from the dignitary or high-ranking official moving under the protection of the MPD
Any prohibited location or circumstance that the Chief determines by rule
Private residential property
Any place for religious worship
A licensee shall not carry a pistol openly or otherwise in a manner that is not concealed
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law

CCW Licensing Offices in District of Columbia

Metropolitan Police Department Firearms Registration Section

Office Address
300 Indiana Ave. NW, Room 3058 Washington, DC 20001

(202) 727-4275

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Reference Links