Can You Open Carry A Gun In DC?

The Second Amendment preserves a person’s right to possess firearms. However, gun control laws vary from state to state, and some have very strict rules and regulations. So, can you open-carry a gun in DC?

It is illegal to open-carry in DC.  The District of Columbia has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. To conceal-carry a pistol in DC, you must have a permit to do so. An out-of-state conceal carry permit is not valid in DC, and you can still be arrested for carrying a gun.

It is important to be aware of the specific regulations in DC so that you are not charged with any violating offense. Let’s take a look at everything you should know about gun laws in the District of Columbia.

Can You Own a Gun in Washington DC?

You may own a gun in the District of Columbia, but you must keep it in your home, place of business, or other locations permissible by the law.

Also, you must have a permit for the possession of firearms that is valid in DC, meaning you must have it registered with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District and obtain a firearms registration permit from them.

Keep in mind that the possession permit only means you are allowed to own a gun; it doesn’t mean that you can open-carry it. These weapon permits apply to concealed weapons. However, in the case of long guns, you are allowed to open-carry them but only for special activities, including hunting or related activities.

What are the Requirements for Obtaining a Weapon Permit?

Your application for the possession of a concealed weapon will be approved if you meet the requirements provided by the state. The requirements apply to owning a concealed weapon; you will not be allowed to openly carry it. The following requirements apply:

  • You must live or work in the District of Columbia.
  • You must be at least 21 years old in order to get a gun permit. However, if you are between 18 and 21 years old, you may be able to qualify for a long gun, but this special registration will expire as soon as you turn 21.
  • You may not suffer from mental illness or a physical defect that may prevent you from possessing and using a firearm responsibly and safely.
  • You’re required to obtain a registration certificate for the gun you want to get a permit for.
  • You must not have been found negligent in any gun mishap that caused injury or death to another person or not stand convicted of weapon offenses or felonies punishable by spending time in jail for more than one year.
  • Firearm safety training course is required.

You can also apply for a concealed carry permit in DC if you are a non-resident owning a valid concealed carry permit from another state.

Keep in mind that these are the main requirements for obtaining a weapon permit, and you should check with the local authorities if additional requirements apply.

What Firearms are Not Eligible for Registration?

You may get a permit for handguns, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns, but it is illegal to have a magazine with a capacity greater than ten rounds of ammunition in this state. On the other hand, you are prohibited from registering the following firearms:

  • Machine guns
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • A .50 BMG rifle
  • Short-barreled rifles
  • Assault weapons
  • Unsafe handguns prohibited under the District’s Official Code § 7-2505.04

Where You Are Allowed to Open-Carry a Weapon in DC?

You are allowed to openly carry or possess firearms in the following locations:

  • Within your home or place of business.
  • Within your personal vehicle – as long as it is locked away in the trunk or the compartment.
  • On private property – as long as there is no conspicuous signage prohibiting the carrying of a concealed gun.

However, it is best to keep the gun within your home or place of business and not risk being charged with a gun offense.

Where Aren’t You Allowed to Open-Carry a Weapon in DC?

As expected, you aren’t allowed to open-carry a gun in most locations in the District of Columbia. We will name a few of the most common places where it is illegal to openly carry a firearm. Keep in mind that the full list of locations is much longer, and you should consult with the authorities before carrying your gun. You are prohibited from the possession and use of firearms in the following locations:

  • Public properties
  • Government buildings
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Places of worship
  • Polling units
  • Detention facilities
  • Schools
  • Daycare facilities
  • Health care centers
  • Hotels and guest houses
  • Private properties with signage restricting weapons
  • State capitol premises

What to Do When Facing Gun Charges?

If you are in possession of a firearm that is not registered, you could be arrested for carrying a pistol without a license and face up to 5 years in jail and/or a $12,500 fine.  

If you are facing firearm charges for breaching the gun regulations in DC, contact Bruckheim & Patel for legal assistance. Our criminal defense lawyers will provide a free consultation and advise you on the next steps to take.


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