Jan 19

Firearms and Weapons in D.C.


According to a recent report, Washington D.C. spends more per capita on its police force than any other city in the U.S., despite ranking dead last in terms of its crime rate. In 2015, D.C.’s homicide rate spiked up to 61 per cent from 2014. Illegal guns and weapons are responsible for the majority of these homicides.

According to the D.C. Criminal Code 22-4503, it is illegal to own or possess a firearm in the District of Columbia if the person:

(1) is a drug addict
(2) has ever been convicted of a felony, either in D.C or anywhere else in the United States
(3) has ever been convicted of a firearms charge
(4) has ever been convicted of certain misdemeanor charges (e.g., crimes of domestic violence)
(5) is subject to a civil protection order

Felon in possession of a firearm

The penalty for being a felon possessing a firearm is a mandatory 1 year of imprisonment that cannot be suspended and up to 10 years in prison. Some other charges for unlawful possession of a firearm carry a penalty of 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. D.C. Criminal Code Section 22-4503.

Carrying a pistol / deadly or dangerous firearm without a license (CPWL)

According to D.C. Criminal Code Section 22-4504(a), it is illegal to carry a pistol or any other deadly or dangerous firearm without a proper license. If the possession is outside the person’s “dwelling place,” “place of business,” or “other land possessed by the person,” the crime is a felony and is subject to a maximum $5,000 fine and/or 5 year in prison.

Possession of Firearm During Crime of Violence (PFCV)

As codified in D.C. Criminal Code Section 22-4504(b), it is against the law to possess a firearm or imitation firearm during a violent crime.

Assault with Dangerous Weapon (ADW)

All types of assault are seen as a crime in the D.C. courts, and if a dangerous weapon or firearm is present on the scene, the person could face up to 10 years of prison.

Possession of Unregistered Firearm (UF)

In Washington D.C. it is illegal to carry an unregistered firearm. An individual in possession of the a firearm must produce a valid registration certificate. The penalty is a maximum fine of $1000 and/or up to one year imprisonment.

Possession of a Prohibited Weapon

It is illegal to possess a whole range of “dangerous” weapons, including a: blackjack, sand club, switchblade, silencer or muffler, dagger, stiletto, or sawed off shotgun. Also, it is illegal to possess an imitation of the following: pistol, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto or knife with a blade longer than three inches with the intent to use it unlawfully. First-time offenders without a prior felony conviction could face a maximum fine of $1000 and/or up to a year in prison. The penalty for a second time or subsequent offense or for an offender with a prior felony conviction in D.C. or any other jurisdiction is a maximum jail time of 10 years.