Can You Open Carry A Gun In DC?

Updated on August 19th, 2022 at 04:25 pm

The Second Amendment preserves a person’s right to possess firearms. However, gun control laws vary from state to state. Some states have very strict rules and regulations as guns are considered a dangerous weapon and violent crimes can occur with firearms. So, can you open-carry a gun in District of Columbia?

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 the District of Columbia so that you are not charged with any violating weapons offense. Let’s look at everything you should know about concealed carry of firearms, gun laws, and being a responsible gun owner in the District of Columbia.

Can You Own a Gun in 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 in the D.C. Code. 

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

District of Columbia residents can fill out a firearm registration form at a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. 

In the District of Columbia, having a possession permit only means you are allowed to own a registered firearm; it doesn’t permit the open carry of firearms. 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, such as hunting or related activities.

Requirements for Obtaining Concealed Carry Permits in Washington D.C.

Your application for a concealed carry license in the District of Columbia will be approved if you meet the requirements provided by the state:

  • You must live or work in the District of Columbia.
  • You must be at least 21 years old to get a gun permit in Washington D.C. However, if you are between 18 and 21 years old, you may qualify for a long gun, but this special firearms registration will expire as soon as you turn 21.
  • You may not suffer from mental illness or a physical defect, like chronic alcoholism, which may prevent you from possessing and using a firearm responsibly and safely.
  • You’re required to obtain a firearms registration certificate for the gun you want to get a permit for.
  • You must not have been found negligent in any firearm mishap that caused bodily harm or death to another person or be under formal accusation for a weapons offense or crime of violence, violent behavior, felony conviction, or charged with a felony crime punishable by prison time for more than one year.
  • A firearms training and safety course is required in Washington D.C.
  • You are permitted to apply for a concealed carry pistol license in the District of Columbia if you are a non-resident owning a valid concealed carry license from another state.

These requirements apply to owning concealed handguns; you will not be allowed the open carrying of firearms. You should always check with the local authorities to see if additional requirements apply.

What Firearms are Not Eligible for Registration in The District of Columbia?

Pursuant to DC Code § 7-2505.02, 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 D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04

You may get a permit for possession of 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, also known as a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Where Are You 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 unlawful possession of a gun offense in the District of Columbia.

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 local authorities regarding carry laws.

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
  • Public Spaces
  • Public Transportation
  • Gun-Free Zones
  • Public Memorials
  • National Parks
  • Federal Courts

What are District of Columbia Gun Penalty Charges?

In Washington DC, carrying a Pistol without a License is a criminal offense that could bring felony charges and jail time. If you are in possession of an unregistered firearm in the District of Columbia, 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 criminal charges for breaching the gun regulations in the District of Columbia, contact Bruckheim & Patel for legal assistance. Our DC criminal defense lawyers will provide a free consultation and legal advice on the next steps to take.

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