Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–2502.01. Registration requirements.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this unit, no person or organization in the District of Columbia (“District”) shall receive, possess, control, transfer, offer for sale, sell, give, or deliver any destructive device, and no person or organization in the District shall possess or control any firearm, unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm. A registration certificate may be issued:

(1) To an organization if:

(A) The organization employs at least 1 commissioned special police officer or employee licensed to carry a firearm whom the organization arms during the employee’s duty hours; and

(B) The registration is issued in the name of the organization and in the name of the president or chief executive officer of the organization;

(2) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department;

(3) In the discretion of the Chief of Police, to the Fire Marshal and any member of the Fire and Arson Investigation Unit of the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, who is designated in writing by the Fire Chief, for the purpose of enforcing the arson and fire safety laws of the District of Columbia;

(4) To a firearms instructor, or to an organization that employs a firearms instructor, for the purpose of conducting firearms training; or

(5) To a person who complies with, and meets the requirements of, this unit.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any law enforcement officer or agent of the District or the United States, or any law enforcement officer or agent of the government of any state or subdivision thereof, or any member of the armed forces of the United States, the National Guard or organized reserves, when such officer, agent, or member is authorized to possess such a firearm or device while on duty in the performance of official authorized functions;

(2) Any person holding a dealer’s license; provided, that the firearm or destructive device is:

(A) Acquired by such person in the normal conduct of business;

(B) Kept at the place described in the dealer’s license; and

(C) Not kept for such person’s private use or protection, or for the protection of his business;

(3) With respect to firearms, any nonresident of the District participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity in the District, or on his way to or from such activity in another jurisdiction; provided, that such person, whenever in possession of a firearm, shall upon demand of any member of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other bona fide law enforcement officer, exhibit proof that he is on his way to or from such activity, and that his possession or control of such firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he resides; provided further, that such weapon shall be transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02;

(4) Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm registered to another person while in the home or place of business of the registrant; provided, that the person is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms and the person reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself; or

(5) Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm while participating in a firearms training and safety class conducted by a firearms instructor.

(c) For the purposes of subsection (b)(3) of this section, the term “recreational firearm-related activity” includes a firearms training and safety class.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title II, § 201, 23 DCR 2464; May 7, 1993, D.C. Law 9-266, § 2(a), 39 DCR 5676; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-176,§ 5, 45 DCR 5662; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-264, § 19, 46 DCR 2118; Mar. 31, 2009, D.C. Law 17-372, § 3(b), 56 DCR 1365; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 2(b), 59 DCR 5691; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-279, § 2(a), 62 DCR 1944.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2311.

1973 Ed., § 6-1811.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2504.01, § 7-2507.06, and § 7-2508.01.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-372, in subsec. (b)(3), substituted “that such weapon shall be transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02; or” for “that such weapon shall be unloaded, securely wrapped, and carried in open view”; and added subsec. (b)(4).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 added (a)(4), (a)(5), (b)(5), and (c); and made related changes.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-279 added “or place of business” in (b)(4).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary authorization for seizure and forfeiture of firearms under certain circumstances, see § 2(b) of the Zero Tolerance for Guns Emergency Amendment Act of 1996 (D.C. Act 11-390, August 26, 1996, 43 DCR 4986).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 5 of the Arson Investigators Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-406, July 13, 1998, 45 DCR 4833),§ 5 of the Arson Investigators Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-466, October 28, 1998, 45 DCR 7838), and § 5 of the Arson Investigators Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-539, December 24, 1998, 45 DCR 297).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-651, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 911).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Firearms Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-352, May 11, 2012, 59 DCR 5116).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Firearms Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-394, July 18, 2012, 59 DCR 8694).

For temporary amendment of (a) and (b), and addition of (c), see § 2(b) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the License to Carry a Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-447, Oct. 7, 2014, 61 DCR 10765, 20 STAT 4175).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of emergency D.C. Act 20-447, § 4, the act’s applicability clause, see § 2 of the License to Carry a Pistol Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-448, Oct. 7, 2014, 61 DCR 10777, 20 STAT 4187).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the License to Carry a Pistol Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-564, Jan. 6, 2015, 62 DCR 866, 21 STAT 527).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of emergency D.C. Act 20-447, see § 4(b) of the License to Carry a Pistol Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-564, Jan. 6, 2015, 62 DCR 866, 21 STAT 527).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of temporary D.C. Act 20-169, see § 4(c) of the License to Carry a Pistol Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-564, Jan. 6, 2015, 62 DCR 866, 21 STAT 527).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the License to Carry a Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-74, June 4, 2015, 62 DCR 8242, 21 DCSTAT 1451).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the License to Carry a Pistol Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-169, May 5, 2015, 61 DCR 11814).

Editor's Notes

Employees of United States Department of Agriculture authorized to carry firearms: Public Law 97-312 provided that any employee of the United States Department of Agriculture designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General of the United States may carry a firearm and use a firearm when necessary for self-protection, in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General of the United States, while such employee is engaged in the performance of the employee’s official duties to (1) carry out any law or regulation related to the control, eradication, or prevention of the introduction or dissemination of communicable disease of livestock or poultry into the United States or (2) perform any duty related to such disease control, eradication, or prevention, subject to the direction of the Secretary.

Seizure and forfeiture of conveyances used in firearms offenses: Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 11-273 provided for the forfeiture and seizure of any conveyance, including vehicles and vessels in which any person or persons transport, possess, or conceal any firearm as defined in § 7-2501.01, or in any manner use to facilitate a violation of §§ 22-4503 and 22-4504. D.C. Law 11-273 became effective on June 3, 1997.