Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 45. Weapons and Possession of Weapons.


§ 22–4501. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Crime of violence” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 23-1331(4).

(2) “Dangerous crime” means distribution of or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. For the purposes of this definition, the term “controlled substance” means any substance defined as such in the District of Columbia Official Code or any Act of Congress.

(2A) “Firearm” means any weapon, regardless of operability, which will, or is designed or redesigned, made or remade, readily converted, restored, or repaired, or is intended to, expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosive. The term “firearm” shall not include:

(A) A destructive device as that term is defined in § 7-2501.01(7);

(B) A device used exclusively for line throwing, signaling, or safety, and required or recommended by the Coast Guard or Interstate Commerce Commission; or

(C) A device used exclusively for firing explosive rivets, stud cartridges, or similar industrial ammunition and incapable for use as a weapon.

(3) “Knuckles” means an object, whether made of metal, wood, plastic, or other similarly durable material that is constructed of one piece, the outside part of which is designed to fit over and cover the fingers on a hand and the inside part of which is designed to be gripped by the fist.

(4) “Machine gun” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-2501.01(10).

(5) “Person” includes individual, firm, association, or corporation.

(6) “Pistol” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-2501.01(12).

(6A) “Place of business” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-2501.01(12A).

(7) “Playground” means any facility intended for recreation, open to the public, and with any portion of the facility that contains one or more separate apparatus intended for the recreation of children, including, but not limited to, sliding boards, swingsets, and teeterboards.

(7A) “Registrant” means a person who has registered a firearm pursuant to Unit A of Chapter 25 of Title 7.

(8) “Sawed-off shotgun” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-2501.01(15).

(9) “Sell” and “purchase” and the various derivatives of such words shall be construed to include letting on hire, giving, lending, borrowing, and otherwise transferring.

(9A) “Shotgun” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-2501.01(16).

(10) “Video arcade” means any facility legally accessible to persons under 18 years of age, intended primarily for the use of pinball and video machines for amusement, and which contains a minimum of 10 pinball or video machines.

(11) “Youth center” means any recreational facility or gymnasium (including any parking lot appurtenant thereto), intended primarily for use by persons under 18 years of age, which regularly provides athletic, civic, or cultural activities.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 650, ch. 465, § 1; Dec. 27, 1967, 81 Stat. 736, Pub. L. 90-226, title V, § 501; Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 601(e), 29 DCR 3976; July 28, 1989, D.C. Law 8-19, § 3(a), 36 DCR 2844; May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-120, § 3(a), 37 DCR 24; Aug. 18, 1994, D.C. Law 10-150, § 3(a), 41 DCR 2594; Aug. 20, 1994, D.C. Law 10-151, § 109, 41 DCR 2608; May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-257, § 401(c), 42 DCR 53; May 17, 1996, D.C. Law 11-119, § 4, 43 DCR 528; June 3, 1997, D.C. Law 11-275, § 8, 44 DCR 1408; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-300, § 3, 47 DCR 7037; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-194, § 155, 49 DCR 5306; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 223(a), 53 DCR 8610; May 15, 2009, D.C. Law 17-390, § 3(a), 55 DCR 11030; May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(a), 56 DCR 1162; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(a), 59 DCR 5691.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3201.

1973 Ed., § 22-3201.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-113.32, § 7-2508.01, § 16-2305.02, § 16-2333, § 16-4205, § 22-1804a, § 22-2104.01, § 22-4504, § 24-221.01b, § 24-403, § 24-403.01, § 24-408, § 24-921, and § 48-1203.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-300, in subsec. (g), deleted “, if the offense is punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year” following “controlled substance” in the first sentence.

D.C. Law 14-194, in subsec. (f), substituted “manslaughter, an act of terrorism, manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction, use, dissemination, or detonation of a weapon of mass destruction,” for “manslaughter,”.

D.C. Law 16-306 rewrote subsec. (f), which had read as follows: “(f) ‘Crime of violence’, as used in this chapter, means any of the following crimes, or an attempt to commit any of the same, namely: Murder, manslaughter, an act of terrorism, manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction, use, dissemination, or detonation of a weapon of mass destruction, first degree sexual abuse, second degree sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse, mayhem, maliciously disfiguring another, abduction, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, housebreaking, any assault with intent to kill, commit first degree sexual abuse, second degree sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse, or robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to commit any offense punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, arson, or extortion or blackmail accompanied by threats of violence or aggravated assault.”

D.C. Law 17-390 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 17-388 added pars. (2A), (6A), (7A), and (9A); and rewrote pars. (4), (6), and (8).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 redesignated former (2A)(1) through (2A)(3) as (2A)(A) through (2A)(C).

Cross References

Crimes of violence defined, firearms control law, see § 7-2501.01.

Educational and meritorious good time credits, minimum sentence for violent crimes, see § 24-221.01b.

Eligibility for boot camp program, conviction under this section, see § 24-921.

Firearms regulations, see § 1-303.43.

Minimum sentences, crimes specified in this section, see § 24-403.

Murder in the first degree, sentencing, aggravating circumstances, see § 22-2104.01.

Parole eligibility, convictions under this section, see § 24-408.

Repeat offenders, crimes of violence, increased penalties, see § 22-1804a.

Sentencing, supervised release, and good time credit for felonies under this section committed on or after August 5, 2000, see § 24-403.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 109 of the Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-255, June 22, 1994, 41 DCR 4286).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(a) of Second Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-502, September 16, 2008, 55 DCR 9904).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 3(a) and (4) of Second Firearms Control Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-601, December 12, 2008, 56 DCR 9).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Inoperable Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-24, March 16, 2009, 56 DCR 2309).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 302(a) of Crime Bill Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-129, June

For temporary amendment of (2A), see § 3(a) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).


§ 22–4502. Additional penalty for committing crime when armed.

(a) Any person who commits a crime of violence, or a dangerous crime in the District of Columbia when armed with or having readily available any pistol or other firearm (or imitation thereof) or other dangerous or deadly weapon (including a sawed-off shotgun, shotgun, machine gun, rifle, stun gun, dirk, bowie knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, razor, blackjack, billy, or metallic or other false knuckles):

(1) May, if such person is convicted for the first time of having so committed a crime of violence, or a dangerous crime in the District of Columbia, be sentenced, in addition to the penalty provided for such crime, to a period of imprisonment which may be up to, and including, 30 years for all offenses except first degree murder while armed, second degree murder while armed, first degree sexual abuse while armed, and first degree child sexual abuse while armed, and shall, if convicted of such offenses while armed with any pistol or firearm, be imprisoned for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 5 years; and

(2) Shall, if such person is convicted more than once of having so committed a crime of violence, or a dangerous crime in the District of Columbia, or an offense in any other jurisdiction that would constitute a crime of violence or dangerous crime if committed in the District of Columbia, be sentenced, in addition to the penalty provided for such crime, to a period of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and, except for first degree murder while armed, second degree murder while armed, first degree sexual abuse while armed and first degree child sexual abuse while armed, not more than 30 years, and shall, if convicted of such second offense while armed with any pistol or firearm, be imprisoned for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 10 years.

(3) Shall, if such person is convicted of first degree murder while armed, second degree murder while armed, first degree sexual abuse while armed, or first degree child sexual abuse while armed, be sentenced, in addition to the penalty provided for such crime, to a period of imprisonment of not less than the minimum and mandatory minimum sentences required by subsections (a)(1), (a)(2), (c) and (e) of this section and § 22-2104, and not more than life imprisonment or life imprisonment without possibility of release as authorized by § 24-403.01(b-2); § 22-2104; § 22-2104.01; and §§ 22-3002, 22-3008, and 22-3020.

(4) For purposes of imprisonment following revocation of release authorized by § 24-403.01(b)(7), the offenses defined by this section are Class A felonies.

(b) Repealed.

(c) Any person sentenced pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) above for a conviction of a crime of violence or a dangerous crime while armed with any pistol or firearm, shall serve a mandatory-minimum term of 5 years, if sentenced pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this section, or 10 years, if sentenced pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this section, and such person shall not be released, granted probation, or granted suspension of sentence, prior to serving such mandatory-minimum sentence.

(d) Repealed.

(e)(1) Subchapter I of Chapter 9 of Title 24 shall not apply with respect to any person sentenced under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this section or to any person convicted more than once of having committed a crime of violence or a dangerous crime in the District of Columbia sentenced under subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(2) The execution or imposition of any term of imprisonment imposed under paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of this section may not be suspended and probation may not be granted.

(e-1) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.

(f) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as reducing any sentence otherwise imposed or authorized to be imposed.

(g) No conviction with respect to which a person has been pardoned on the ground of innocence shall be taken into account in applying this section.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 560, ch. 465, § 2; Dec. 27, 1967, 81 Stat. 737, Pub. L. 90-226, title VI, § 605; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 600, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 205; Mar. 9, 1983, D.C. Law 4-166, §§ 3-7, 30 DCR 1082; Dec. 7, 1985, D.C. Law 6-69, § 9, 32 DCR 4587; July 28, 1989, D.C. Law 8-19, § 3(b), 36 DCR 2844; May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-120, § 3(b), 37 DCR 24; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(a), 41 DCR 1639; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-302,§ 6(a), 47 DCR 7249; June 19, 2001, D.C. Law 13-313, § 21(b)(1), (2), 48 DCR 1873; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 219(a), 56 DCR 7413; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(b), 59 DCR 5691; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 310, 60 DCR 2064; May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-281, § 4, 64 DCR 1648.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3202.

1973 Ed., § 22-3202.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-751.01, § 5-113.32, § 22-4513, § 23-1322, § 24-221.06, § 24-403, § 24-403.01, and § 24-467.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-302, in subsec. (a), in par. (1), substituted “up to, and including, 30 years for all offenses except first degree murder while armed, second degree murder while armed, first degree sexual abuse while armed, and first degree child sexual abuse while armed imprisonment” for “up to life imprisonment”, in par. (2), substituted “to a period of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and, except for first degree murder while armed, second degree murder while armed, first degree sexual abuse while armed and first degree child sexual abuse while armed, not more than 30 years” for “to a minimum period of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and a maximum period of imprisonment which may not be less than 3 times the minimum sentence imposed and may be up to life imprisonment”, and added pars. (3) and (4); repealed subsec. (b) which had read: “(b) Where the maximum sentence imposed under this section is life imprisonment, the minimum sentence imposed under subsection (a) of this section may not exceed 15 years imprisonment.”; in subsec. (c), deleted “on parole” following “not be released”; and repealed subsec. (d) which had read: “(d) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person sentenced under subsection (a)(2) of this section may be released on parole in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 24, at any time after having served the minimum sentence imposed under that subsection.”

D.C. Law 13-313, in subsec. (c), substituted “paragraph (1), (2), or (3)” for “paragraph (1) or (2)”; and, in subsec. (e), in par. (1), inserted “or to any person convicted more than once of having committed a crime of violence or a dangerous crime in the District of Columbia sentenced under subsection (a)(3) of this section”, and in par. (2), substituted “paragraphs (2) or (3)” for “paragraph (2)”.

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsec. (a)(2), substituted “Columbia, or an offense in any other jurisdiction that would constitute a crime of violence or dangerous crime if committed in the District of Columbia,” for “Columbia,”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 added “or a dangerous crime” following “a crime of violence” in (c).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (e-1).

Cross References

Eligibility for geriatric or medical parole, convictions under this section, see § 24-467.

Institutional and educational good time credit eligibility, minimum sentences under this section, see § 24-221.06.

Minimum sentences, conviction under this section, see § 24-403.

Sentencing, supervised release, and good time credit for conviction of felonies under this section committed on or after August 5, 2000, see § 24-403.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4 of Stun Gun Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-31, Mar. 27, 2017, 64 DCR 3084).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4 of Stun Gun Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-630, Jan. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 907).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(a) of the Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 13-462, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(a) of Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-2, February 2, 2001, 48 DCR 2239).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(a) of Sentencing Reform Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-51, May 2, 2001, 48 DCR 4370).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 302(b) of Crime Bill Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-129, June 29, 2009, 56 DCR 5495).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 219(a) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 219(a) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(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 § 3(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 (c), see § 3(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 § 310 of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 22–4502.01. Gun free zones; enhanced penalty.

(a) All areas within, 1000 feet of an appropriately identified public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college, or university, or any public swimming pool, playground, video arcade, youth center, or public library, or in and around public housing as defined in section 3(1) of the United States Housing Act of 1937, approved August 22, 1974 (88 Stat. 654; 42 U.S.C. § 1437a(b)), the development or administration of which is assisted by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or in or around housing that is owned, operated, or financially assisted by the District of Columbia Housing Authority, or an event sponsored by any of the above entities shall be declared a gun free zone. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “appropriately identified” means that there is a sign that identifies the building or area as a gun free zone.

(b) Any person illegally carrying a gun within a gun free zone shall be punished by a fine up to twice that otherwise authorized to be imposed, by a term of imprisonment up to twice that otherwise authorized to be imposed, or both.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person legally licensed to carry a firearm in the District of Columbia who lives or works within 1000 feet of a gun free zone or to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps of the United States; the National Guard or Organized Reserves when on duty; the Post Office Department or its employees when on duty; marshals, sheriffs, prison, or jail wardens, or their deputies; policemen or other duly-appointed law enforcement officers; officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry such weapons; banking institutions; public carriers who are engaged in the business of transporting mail, money, securities, or other valuables; and licensed wholesale or retail dealers.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 650, ch. 465, § 2a; as added Aug. 18, 1994, D.C. Law 10-150, § 3(b), 41 DCR 2594; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 223(b), 53 DCR 8610.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3202.1.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-306 rewrote subsec. (a), which had read as follows: “(a) All areas within 1000 feet of a public or private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college, or university, or any public swimming pool, playground, video arcade, or youth center, or an event sponsored by any of the above entities shall be declared a gun free zone.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(b) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(b) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(b) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(b) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).


§ 22–4503. Unlawful possession of firearm.

(a) No person shall own or keep a firearm, or have a firearm in his or her possession or under his or her control, within the District of Columbia, if the person:

(1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

(2) Is not licensed under § 22-4510 to sell weapons, and the person has been convicted of violating this chapter;

(3) Is a fugitive from justice;

(4) Is addicted to any controlled substance, as defined in § 48-901.02(4);

(5) Is subject to a court order that:

(A)(i) Was issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate; or

(ii) Remained in effect after the person failed to appear for a hearing of which the person received actual notice;

(B) Restrains the person from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening the petitioner or any other person named in the order; and

(C) Requires the person to relinquish possession of any firearms;

(6) Has been convicted within the past 5 years of an intrafamily offense, as defined in D.C. Official Code § 16-1001(8), punishable as a misdemeanor, or any similar provision in the law of another jurisdiction.

(b)(1) A person who violates subsection (a)(1) of this section shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 10 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of 1 year, unless she or he has a prior conviction for a crime of violence other than conspiracy, in which case she or he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 15 years and shall be sentenced to a mandatory-minimum term of 3 years.

(2) A person sentenced to a mandatory-minimum term of imprisonment under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be released from prison or granted probation or suspension of sentence prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence.

(3) In addition to any other penalty provided under this subsection, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.

(c) A person who violates subsection (a)(2) through (a)(6) of this section shall be sentenced to not less than 2 years nor more than 10 years, fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or both.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Crime of violence” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 23-1331(4), or a crime under the laws of any other jurisdiction that involved conduct that would constitute a crime of violence if committed in the District of Columbia, or conduct that is substantially similar to that prosecuted as a crime of violence under the District of Columbia Official Code.

(2) “Fugitive from justice” means a person who has:

(A) Fled to avoid prosecution for a crime or to avoid giving testimony in a criminal proceeding; or

(B) Escaped from a federal, state, or local prison, jail, halfway house, or detention facility or from the custody of a law enforcement officer.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 3; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 93, ch. 159, § 204(b); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(b), 41 DCR 1639; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306, § 223(c), 53 DCR 8610; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 219(b), 56 DCR 7413; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 13, 58 DCR 1174; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(c), 59 DCR 5691; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, §§ 240(a), 304, 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3203.

1973 Ed., § 22-3203.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2502.03, § 7-2507.06a, § 16-801, § 22-4507, § 22-4508, § 22-4510, § 23-1322, § 24-403, § 24-403.01, and § 24-906.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-306 substituted “firearm” for “pistol” throughout the section; and rewrote subsec. (b), which had read as follows: “(b) No person shall keep a pistol for, or intentionally make a pistol available to, such a person, knowing that such person has been so convicted or that such person is a drug addict. Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515, unless the violation occurs after such person has been convicted of a violation of this section, in which case such person shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years.”

D.C. Law 18-88 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 18-377, in subsec. (a)(5)(C), deleted “(as provided in § 16-1005(c)(10)” following “firearms”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170, in (a)(6), added “within the past 5 years” and substituted “D.C. Official Code § 16-1001(8), punishable as a misdemeanor, or any similar provision in the law of” for “§ 16-1001, or a substantially similar offense in.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (b)(3); and substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $15,000” in (c).

Cross References

Firearms control, eligibility for registration certificates, see § 7-2502.03.

Forfeiture of vehicles and vessels for weapons offenses, see § 7-2507.06a.

Indeterminate, minimum and maximum sentences, convictions under this section, see § 24-403.

Sentencing, supervised release, and good time credit for felony convictions under this section committed on or after August 5, 2000, see § 24-403.01.

Emergency Legislation

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

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 223(c) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).

For temporary (90 day) additions, see § 2(b) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) additions, see § 2(b) of Inoperable Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-24, March 16, 2009, 56 DCR 2309).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 302(c) of Crime Bill Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-129, June 29, 2009, 56 DCR 5495).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 219(b) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 219(b) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 513 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 513 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(c) of Firearms Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-352, May 11, 2012, 59 DCR 5116).

For temporary amendment of (a)(6), see § 3(c) 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 §§ 240(a) and 304 of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.

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 § 6-2302 [§ 7-2501.01, 2001 Ed.], or in any manner use to facilitate a violation of §§ 22-3203 and 22-3204 ]§§ 22-4503 and 22-4504, 2001 Ed.].


§ 22–4503.01. Unlawful discharge of a firearm.

Except as otherwise permitted by law, including legitimate self-defense, no firearm shall be discharged or set off in the District of Columbia without a special written permit from the Chief of Police issued pursuant to Section 1 of Article 9 of the Police Regulations of the District of Columbia, effective September 29, 1964 (C.O. 64-1397F; 24 DCMR § 2300.1 ) [CDCR 24-2300.1].


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 3a; as added May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(b), 56 DCR 1162.)

Editor's Notes

“Sec. 3. Savings clause. Nothing in section 2 shall affect any action, proceeding, or prosecution commenced before September 16, 2008. Any such action, proceeding, or prosecution shall continue, or may be enforced, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the amendments made by that section had not been made.”

Section 3 of D.C. Law 17-388 provided:


§ 22–4503.02. Prohibition of firearms from public or private property.

(a) The District of Columbia may prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on its property and any property under its control.

(b) Private persons or entities owning property in the District of Columbia may prohibit or restrict the possession of firearms on their property; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to law enforcement personnel when lawfully authorized to enter onto private property.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 3b; as added May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(b), 56 DCR 1162.)

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 17-388 provided: “Sec. 3. Savings clause. Nothing in section 2 shall affect any action, proceeding, or prosecution commenced before September 16, 2008. Any such action, proceeding, or prosecution shall continue, or may be enforced, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the amendments made by that section had not been made.”


§ 22–4504. Carrying concealed weapons; possession of weapons during commission of crime of violence; penalty.

(a) No person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon. Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515, except that:

(1) A person who violates this section by carrying a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon, in a place other than the person’s dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both; or

(2) If the violation of this section occurs after a person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or another jurisdiction, the person shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

(a-1) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall carry within the District of Columbia a rifle or shotgun. A person who violates this subsection shall be subject to the criminal penalties set forth in subsection (a)(1) and (2) of this section.

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rifle, or any other firearm or imitation firearm while committing a crime of violence or dangerous crime as defined in § 22-4501. Upon conviction of a violation of this subsection, the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 5 years and shall not be released on parole, or granted probation or suspension of sentence, prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence.

(c) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 4; Nov. 4, 1943, 57 Stat. 586, ch. 296; Aug. 4, 1947, 61 Stat. 743, ch. 469; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204(c); July 28, 1989, D.C. Law 8-19, § 3(c), 36 DCR 2844; May 8, 1990, D.C. Law 8-120, § 3(c), 37 DCR 24; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119,§ 15(c), 41 DCR 1639; Aug. 20, 1994, D.C. Law 10-151, § 302, 41 DCR 2608; May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(c), 56 DCR 1162; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(d), 59 DCR 5691; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, §§ 240(b), 309(a), 60 DCR 2064; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-279, § 3(a), 62 DCR 1944.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3204.

1973 Ed., § 22-3204.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2507.06a, § 22-2511, § 22-4505, § 22-4513, § 23-1322, § 24-221.06, § 24-261.02, and § 24-467.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-388 added subsec. (a-1).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 deleted “without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law” following “a pistol” in the first sentence of the introductory language of (a) and in (a)(1).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $5,000” in (a)(1), and for “not more than $10,000” in (a)(2); and added (c).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-279 deleted “capable of being so concealed” from the end of the first sentence in the introductory paragraph of (a); and added “without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law” twice in (a).

Cross References

Eligibility for geriatric or medical parole, exceptions, see § 24-467.

Forfeiture of vehicles and vessels for weapons offenses, see § 7-2507.06a.

Institutional and educational good time credits, exceptions, see § 24-221.06.

Use of deadly and non-deadly force, private correctional officer employed by private operator, see § 24-261.02.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 302 of the Omnibus Criminal Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-255, June 22, 1994, 41 DCR 4286).

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

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Second Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-502, September 16, 2008, 55 DCR 9904).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(b) of Second Firearms Control Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-601, December 12, 2008, 56 DCR 9).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) additions, see § 2(d) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 59 DCR 927).

For temporary amendment of (a), see § 3(d) 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 §§ 240(b) and 309(a) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

For temporary amendment of (a), see § 3(d) of the FirearmsSecond Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 240(b) and 309(a) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3(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 § 3(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 § 3(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 § 3(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

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.

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 § 6-2302 [§ 7-2501.01, 2001 Ed.], or in any manner use to facilitate a violation of §§ 22-3203 and 22-3204 [§§ 22-4503 and 22-4504, 2001 Ed.].


§ 22–4504.01. Authority to carry firearm in certain places and for certain purposes.

Notwithstanding any other law, a person holding a valid registration for a firearm may carry the firearm:

(1) Within the registrant’s home;

(2) While it is being used for lawful recreational purposes;

(3) While it is kept at the registrant’s place of business; or

(4) While it is being transported for a lawful purpose as expressly authorized by District or federal statute and in accordance with the requirements of that statute.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 4a; as added May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(d), 56 DCR 1162.)

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 17-388 provided: “Sec. 3. Savings clause. Nothing in section 2 shall affect any action, proceeding, or prosecution commenced before September 16, 2008. Any such action, proceeding, or prosecution shall continue, or may be enforced, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the amendments made by that section had not been made.”


§ 22–4504.02. Lawful transportation of firearms.

(a) Any person who is not otherwise prohibited by the law from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be permitted to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm if the firearm is transported in accordance with this section.

(b)(1) If the transportation of the firearm is by a vehicle, the firearm shall be unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported shall be readily accessible or directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the transporting vehicle.

(2) If the transporting vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment, the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console, and the firearm shall be unloaded.

(c) If the transportation of the firearm is in a manner other than in a vehicle, the firearm shall be:

(1) Unloaded;

(2) Inside a locked container; and

(3) Separate from any ammunition.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 4b; as added May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(d), 56 DCR 1162.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2502.01, § 7-2502.04, § 7-2505.04, § 7-2507.05, § 22-4505, and § 22-4508.

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 17-388 provided: “Sec. 3. Savings clause. Nothing in section 2 shall affect any action, proceeding, or prosecution commenced before September 16, 2008. Any such action, proceeding, or prosecution shall continue, or may be enforced, in the same manner and to the same extent as if the amendments made by that section had not been made.”


§ 22–4505. Exceptions to § 22-4504.

(a) The provisions of §§ 22-4504(a) and 22-4504(a-1) shall not apply to:

(1) Marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen or other duly appointed law enforcement officers, including special agents of the Office of Tax and Revenue, authorized in writing by the Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the Office of Tax and Revenue to carry a firearm while engaged in the performance of their official duties, and criminal investigators of the Office of the Inspector General, designated in writing by the Inspector General, while engaged in the performance of their official duties;

(2) Special police officers and campus police officers who carry a firearm in accordance with D.C. Official Code § 5-129.02, and rules promulgated pursuant to that section;

(3) Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps of the United States or of the National Guard or Organized Reserves when on duty, or to the regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive such weapons from the United States; provided, that such members are at or are going to or from their places of assembly or target practice;

(4) Officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry a concealed pistol;

(5) Any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person having in his or her possession, using, or carrying a pistol in the usual or ordinary course of such business; and

(6) Any person while carrying a pistol, transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02, from the place of purchase to his or her home or place of business or to a place of repair or back to his or her home or place of business or in moving goods from one place of abode or business to another, or to or from any lawful recreational firearm-related activity.

(b) The provisions of § 22-4504(a) with respect to pistols shall not apply to a police officer who has retired from the Metropolitan Police Department, if the police officer has registered a pistol and it is concealed on or about the police officer.

(c) For the purposes of subsection (a)(6) of this section, the term “recreational firearm-related activity” includes a firearms training and safety class.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 5; May 7, 1993, D.C. Law 9-266, § 3, 39 DCR 5676; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(d), 41 DCR 1639; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-190, § 3, 45 DCR 7814; June 9, 2001, D.C. Law 13-305,§ 408, 48 DCR 334; June 12, 2003, D.C. Law 14-310, § 9, 50 DCR 1092; May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(e), 56 DCR 1162; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(e), 59 DCR 5691.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3205.

1973 Ed., § 22-3205.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-223.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “duly appointed law enforcement officers, including special agents of the Office of Tax and Revenue, authorized in writing by the Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the Office of Tax and Revenue to carry a firearm while engaged in the performance of their official duties” for “duly appointed law enforcement officers”.

D.C. Law 14-310, in par. (4), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 17-388, in subsec. (a), substituted “pistol, transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02, from” for “pistol unloaded and in a secure wrapper from”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 deleted “to § 22-4504” at the end of the section heading; rewrote (a); substituted “§ 22-4504(a)” for “§ 22-4504” in (b); added (c); and made related changes.

Cross References

District of Columbia Housing Authority Police Force, applicability of this section, see § 6-258.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3 of the Office of the Inspector General Law Enforcement Powers Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-394, July 4, 1998, 45 DCR 4645), § 3 of the Office of the Inspector General Law Enforcement Powers Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-463, October 28, 1998, 45 DCR 7818), and § 3 of the Office of the Inspector General Law Enforcement Powers Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-3, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2288).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 3(e) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).

Temporary Legislation

Section 3 of D.C. Law 12-177 inserted “including criminal investigators of the Office of the Inspector General, designated in writing by the Inspector General, while engaged in the performance of their official duties” near the beginning of (a).


§ 22–4506. Issue of a license to carry a pistol.

(a) The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (“Chief”) may, upon the application of a person having a bona fide residence or place of business within the District of Columbia, or of a person having a bona fide residence or place of business 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, issue a license to such person to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person within the District of Columbia for not more than 2 years from the date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol, and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed.

(b) A non-resident who lives in a state that does not require a license to carry a concealed pistol may apply to the Chief for a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person within the District of Columbia for not more than 2 years from the date of issue; provided, that he or she meets the same reasons and requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) For any person issued a license pursuant to this section, or renewed pursuant to § 7-2509.03, the Chief may limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times of the day, week, month, or year in which the license is effective, and may subsequently limit, suspend, or revoke the license as provided under § 7-2509.05.

(d) The application for a license to carry shall be on a form prescribed by the Chief and shall bear the name, address, description, photograph, and signature of the licensee.

(e) Except as provided in § 7-2509.05(b), any person whose application has been denied or whose license has been limited or revoked may, within 15 days after the date of the notice of denial or notice of intent, appeal to the Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board established pursuant to § 7-2509.08.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 651, ch. 465, § 6; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(e), 41 DCR 1639; May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(f), 56 DCR 1162; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-279, § 3(b), 62 DCR 1944.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3206.

1973 Ed., § 22-3206.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-279 revived and rewrote this section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) repeal, see § 2(f) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) repeal, see § 2(f) of Inoperable Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-24, March 16, 2009, 56 DCR 2309).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3(b) 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) revival and amendment of this section as of September 23, 2014, see § 3(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 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) revival and amendment of this section, see § 3(b) 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) revival and amendment of this section, see § 3(b) of the License to Carry a Pistol Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-169, March 7, 2015, 61 DCR 11814).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 22–4507. Certain sales of pistols prohibited.

No person shall within the District of Columbia sell any pistol to a person who he or she has reasonable cause to believe is not of sound mind, or is forbidden by § 22-4503 to possess a pistol [now “firearm”], or, except when the relation of parent and child or guardian and ward exists, is under the age of 21 years.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 652, ch. 465, § 7; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204(d); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(f), 41 DCR 1639.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3207.

1973 Ed., § 22-3207.


§ 22–4508. Transfers of firearms regulated.

No seller shall within the District of Columbia deliver a firearm to the purchaser thereof until 10 days shall have elapsed from the date of the purchase thereof, except in the case of sales to marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens or their deputies, policemen, or other duly appointed law enforcement officers, and, when delivered, said firearm shall be transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02. At the time of purchase, the purchaser shall sign in duplicate and deliver to the seller a statement containing his or her full name, address, occupation, date and place of birth, the date of purchase, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number of the firearm and a statement that the purchaser is not forbidden by § 22-4503 to possess a firearm. The seller shall, within 6 hours after purchase, sign and attach his or her address and deliver one copy to such person or persons as the Chief of Police of the District of Columbia may designate, and shall retain the other copy for 6 years. No machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or blackjack shall be sold to any person other than the persons designated in § 22-4514 as entitled to possess the same, and then only after permission to make such sale has been obtained from the Chief of Police of the District of Columbia. This section shall not apply to sales at wholesale to licensed dealers.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 652, ch. 465, § 8; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204(e); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(g), 41 DCR 1639; May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(g), 56 DCR 1162; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 3(f), 59 DCR 5691.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3208.

1973 Ed., § 22-3208.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-388 substituted “firearm” for “pistol”; substituted “10 days” for “48 hours”; and substituted “shall be transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02” for “shall be securely wrapped and shall be unloaded”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 in the first sentence, substituted “date of the” for “time of the application for the”; in the second sentence, substituted “time of purchase” for “time of applying for the purchase of a firearm,” substituted “date and” for “color,” substituted “date of purchase” for “date and hour of application,” deleted “to be purchased” following “of the firearm,”; and substituted “purchase” for “such application” in the third sentence.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(g) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(g) of Inoperable Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-24, March 16, 2009, 56 DCR 2309).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Transfer Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-69, May 13, 2011, 58 DCR 4256).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(f) 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 § 3(f) 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 section, see § 3(f) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).


§ 22–4509. Dealers of weapons to be licensed.

No retail dealer shall within the District of Columbia sell or expose for sale or have in his or her possession with intent to sell, any pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or blackjack without being licensed as provided in § 22-4510. No wholesale dealer shall, within the District of Columbia, sell, or have in his or her possession with intent to sell, to any person other than a licensed dealer, any pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or blackjack.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 652, ch. 465, § 9; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(h), 41 DCR 1639.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3209.

1973 Ed., § 22-3209.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-4510.


§ 22–4510. Licenses of weapons dealers; records; by whom granted; conditions.

(a) The Mayor of the District of Columbia may, in his or her discretion, grant licenses and may prescribe the form thereof, effective for not more than 1 year from date of issue, permitting the licensee to sell pistols, machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and blackjacks at retail within the District of Columbia subject to the following conditions in addition to those specified in § 22-4509, for breach of any of which the license shall be subject to forfeiture and the licensee subject to punishment as provided in this chapter:

(1) The business shall be carried on only in the building designated in the license.

(2) The license or a copy thereof, certified by the issuing authority, shall be displayed on the premises where it can be easily read.

(3) No pistol shall be sold: (A) if the seller has reasonable cause to believe that the purchaser is not of sound mind or is forbidden by § 22-4503 to possess a pistol [now “firearm”] or is under the age of 21 years; and (B) unless the purchaser is personally known to the seller or shall present clear evidence of his or her identity. No machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or blackjack shall be sold to any person other than the persons designated in § 22-4514 as entitled to possess the same, and then only after permission to make such sale has been obtained from the Chief of Police of the District of Columbia.

(4) A true record shall be made in a book kept for the purpose, the form of which may be prescribed by the Mayor, of all pistols, machine guns, and sawed-off shotguns in the possession of the licensee, which said record shall contain the date of purchase, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number of the weapon, to which shall be added, when sold, the date of sale.

(5) A true record in duplicate shall be made of every pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, and blackjack sold, said record to be made in a book kept for the purpose, the form of which may be prescribed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia and shall be personally signed by the purchaser and by the person effecting the sale, each in the presence of the other and shall contain the date of sale, the name, address, occupation, color, and place of birth of the purchaser, and, so far as applicable, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number of the weapon, and a statement by the purchaser that the purchaser is not forbidden by § 22-4503 to possess a pistol [now “firearm”]. One copy of said record shall, within 7 days, be forwarded by mail to the Chief of Police of the District of Columbia and the other copy retained by the seller for 6 years.

(6) No pistol or imitation thereof or placard advertising the sale thereof shall be displayed in any part of said premises where it can readily be seen from the outside. No license to sell at retail shall be granted to anyone except as provided in this section.

(b) Any license issued pursuant to this section shall be issued by the Metropolitan Police Department as a Public Safety endorsement to a basic business license under the basic business license system as set forth in subchapter I-A of Chapter 28 of Title 47 of the District of Columbia Official Code [§ 47-2851.01 et seq.].


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 652, ch. 465, § 10; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204(f), (g); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(i), 41 DCR 1639; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-261, § 2003(p), 46 DCR 3142; Oct. 28, 2003, D.C. Law 15-38, § 3(p), 50 DCR 6913.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3210.

1973 Ed., § 22-3210.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-4503, § 22-4509, and § 22-4514.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-38, in subsec. (b), substituted “Public Safety endorsement to a basic business license under the basic” for “Class A Public Safety endorsement to a master business license under the master”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(p) of Streamlining Regulation Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-145, August

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 22–4511. False information in purchase of weapons prohibited.

No person shall, in purchasing a pistol or in applying for a license to carry the same, or in purchasing a machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or blackjack within the District of Columbia, give false information or offer false evidence of his or her identity.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 653, ch. 465, § 11; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119,§ 15(j), 41 DCR 1639.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3211.

1973 Ed., § 22-3211.


§ 22–4512. Alteration of identifying marks of weapons prohibited.

No person shall within the District of Columbia change, alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or other mark or identification on any pistol, machine gun, or sawed-off shotgun. Possession of any pistol, machine gun, or sawed-off shotgun upon which any such mark shall have been changed, altered, removed, or obliterated shall be prima facie evidence that the possessor has changed, altered, removed, or obliterated the same within the District of Columbia; provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall apply to any officer or agent of any of the departments of the United States or the District of Columbia engaged in experimental work.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 653, ch. 465, § 12.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3212.

1973 Ed., § 22-3212.


§ 22–4513. Exceptions.

Except as provided in § 22-4502, § 22-4504(b), and § 22-4514(b), this chapter shall not apply to toy or antique pistols unsuitable for use as firearms.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 653, Ch. 465, § 13; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 601, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 205(b); May 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-388, § 2(h), 56 DCR 1162.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3213.

1973 Ed., § 22-3213.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-388 substituted “§ 22-4502, § 22-4504(b), and § 22-4514(b)” for “§ 22-4502 and § 22-4514(b)”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(h) of Inoperable Pistol Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-652, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 927).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(h) of Inoperable Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-24, March 16, 2009, 56 DCR 2309).


§ 22–4514. Possession of certain dangerous weapons prohibited; exceptions.

(a) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess any machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, knuckles, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, sand club, sandbag, switchblade knife, nor any instrument, attachment, or appliance for causing the firing of any firearm to be silent or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any firearms; provided, however, that machine guns, or sawed-off shotgun, knuckles, and blackjacks may be possessed by the members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps of the United States, the National Guard, or Organized Reserves when on duty, the Post Office Department or its employees when on duty, marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen, or other duly-appointed law enforcement officers, including any designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, or officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry such weapons, banking institutions, public carriers who are engaged in the business of transporting mail, money, securities, or other valuables, wholesale dealers and retail dealers licensed under § 22-4510.

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess, with intent to use unlawfully against another, an imitation pistol, or a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, or other dangerous weapon.

(c) Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515 unless the violation occurs after such person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section, or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or in another jurisdiction, in which case such person shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years.

(d) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 654, ch. 465, § 14; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 94, ch. 159, § 204(h); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(k), 41 DCR 1639; June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-284, § 6, 46 DCR 1328; May 15, 2009, D.C. Law 17-390, § 3(b), 55 DCR 11030; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 309(b), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3214.

1973 Ed., § 22-3214.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 10-503.26, § 16-2301, § 22-951, § 22-4508, § 22-4510, and § 22-4513.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-390, in subsec. (a), substituted “sawed-off shotgun, knuckles,” for “sawed-off shotgun”, and deleted “or metal knuckles,” following “switchblade knife,”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (d).

Cross References

Dangerous weapon defined, public buildings and grounds, see § 10-503.26.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 6 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization and Street Solicitation for Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-428, August 6, 1998, 45 DCR 5884).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 6 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-506, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 45 8139), and § 6 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-13, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2333).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 309(b) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Temporary Legislation

Section 6 of D.C. Law 12-282 inserted “including any designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department” in (a).

Section 13(b) of D.C. Law 12-282 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

References in Text

The Post Office Department, referred to in the proviso in subsection (a) of this section, was abolished and all its functions, powers, and duties were transferred to the United States Postal Service by § 4(a) of the Act of August 12, 1970, 84 Stat. 773, Pub.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 22–4515. Penalties.

Any violation of any provision of this chapter for which no penalty is specifically provided shall be punished by a fine of not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 654, ch. 465, § 15; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 240(c), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3215.

1973 Ed., § 22-3215.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-4504 and § 22-4514.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $1,000”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(b) of Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-2, February 2, 2001, 48 DCR 2239).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(b) of Sentencing Reform Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-51, May 2, 2001, 48 DCR 4370).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 240(c) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 22–4515a. Manufacture, transfer, use, possession, or transportation of Molotov cocktails, or other explosives for unlawful purposes, prohibited; definitions; penalties.

(a) No person shall within the District of Columbia manufacture, transfer, use, possess, or transport a molotov cocktail. As used in this subsection, the term “molotov cocktail” means: (1) a breakable container containing flammable liquid and having a wick or a similar device capable of being ignited; or (2) any other device designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion upon impact; but such term does not include a device lawfully and commercially manufactured primarily for the purpose of illumination, construction work, or other lawful purpose.

(b) No person shall manufacture, transfer, use, possess, or transport any device, instrument, or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion, with the intent that the same may be used unlawfully against any person or property.

(c) No person shall, during a state of emergency in the District of Columbia declared by the Mayor pursuant to law, or during a situation in the District of Columbia concerning which the President has invoked any provision of Chapter 15 of Title 10, United States Code, manufacture, transfer, use, possess, or transport any device, instrument, or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion, except at his or her residence or place of business.

(d) Whoever violates this section shall: (1) for the first offense, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 1 and not more than 5 years; (2) for the second offense, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 3 and not more than 15 years; and (3) for the third or subsequent offense, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years. In the case of a person convicted of a third or subsequent violation of this section, Chapter 402 of Title 18, United States Code (Federal Youth Corrections Act) shall not apply. For purposes of imprisonment following revocation of release authorized by § 24-403.01(b)(7), the third or subsequent conviction for an offense defined by this section is a Class A felony.

(e) In addition to any other penalty provided under this section, a person may be fined an amount not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 654, ch. 465, § 15A; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 603, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 209; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(l), 41 DCR 1639; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-302, § 6(b), 47 DCR 7249; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 309(c), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3215a.

1973 Ed., § 22-3215a.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-302, in subsec. (d), substituted “not more than 30 years” for “of any term of years up to life imprisonment”, and added the last sentence.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (e).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 6(b) of the Sentencing Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-410, August 11, 2000, 47 DCR 7271).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6(b) of the Sentencing Reform Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 13-462, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9443).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 309(c) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

References in Text

“Chapter 402 of Title 18, United States Code (Federal Youth Correction Act),” referred to in subsection (d), was repealed effective October 12, 1984, by 98 Stat. 2027, Pub. L. 98-473, with delayed effective dates in certain cases.

“Chapter 15 of Title 10, United States Code,” referred to in (c), is codified at 10 U.S.C. § 331, et seq.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 22–4516. Severability.

If any part of this chapter is for any reason declared void, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter.


(July 8, 1932, 47 Stat. 654, ch. 465, § 16.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3216.

1973 Ed., § 22-3216.


§ 22–4517. Dangerous articles; definition; taking and destruction; procedure.

(a) As used in this section, the term “dangerous article” means:

(1) Any weapon such as a pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, blackjack, slingshot, sandbag, or metal knuckles; or

(2) Any instrument, attachment, or appliance for causing the firing of any firearms to be silent or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any firearms.

(b) A dangerous article unlawfully owned, possessed, or carried is hereby declared to be a nuisance.

(c) When a police officer, in the course of a lawful arrest or lawful search, or when a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department in the course of a lawful search, discovers a dangerous article which the officer reasonably believes is a nuisance under subsection (b) of this section the officer shall take it into his or her possession and surrender it to the Property Clerk of the Metropolitan Police Department.

(d)(1) Within 30 days after the date of such surrender, any person may file in the office of the Property Clerk of the Metropolitan Police Department a written claim for possession of such dangerous article. Upon the expiration of such period, the Property Clerk shall notify each such claimant, by registered mail addressed to the address shown on the claim, of the time and place of a hearing to determine which claimant, if any, is entitled to possession of such dangerous article. Such hearing shall be held within 60 days after the date of such surrender.

(2) At the hearing the Property Clerk shall hear and receive evidence with respect to the claims filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection. Thereafter he or she shall determine which claimant, if any, is entitled to possession of such dangerous article and shall reduce his or her decision to writing. The Property Clerk shall send a true copy of such written decision to each claimant by registered mail addressed to the last known address of such claimant.

(3) Any claimant may, within 30 days after the day on which the copy of such decision was mailed to such claimant, file an appeal in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. If the claimant files an appeal, he or she shall at the same time give written notice thereof to the Property Clerk. If the decision of the Property Clerk is so appealed, the Property Clerk shall not dispose of the dangerous article while such appeal is pending and, if the final judgment is entered by such court, he or she shall dispose of such dangerous article in accordance with the judgment of such court. The Superior Court of the District of Columbia is authorized to determine which claimant, if any, is entitled to possession of the dangerous article and to enter a judgment ordering a disposition of such dangerous article consistent with subsection (f) of this section.

(4) If there is no such appeal, or if such appeal is dismissed or withdrawn, the Property Clerk shall dispose of such dangerous article in accordance with subsection (f) of this section.

(5) The Property Clerk shall make no disposition of a dangerous article under this section, whether in accordance with his or her own decision or in accordance with the judgment of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, until the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia certifies to the Property Clerk that such dangerous article will not be needed as evidence.

(e) A person claiming a dangerous article shall be entitled to its possession only if: (1) such person shows, on satisfactory evidence, that such person is the owner of the dangerous article or is the accredited representative of the owner, and that the ownership is lawful; (2) such person shows on satisfactory evidence that at the time the dangerous article was taken into possession by a police officer or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, it was not unlawfully owned and was not unlawfully possessed or carried by the claimant or with his or her knowledge or consent; and (3) the receipt of possession by the claimant does not cause the article to be a nuisance. A representative is accredited if such person has a power of attorney from the owner.

(f) If a person claiming a dangerous article is entitled to its possession as determined under subsections (d) and (e) of this section, possession of such dangerous article shall be given to such person. If no person so claiming is entitled to its possession as determined under subsections (d) and (e) of this section, or if there be no claimant, such dangerous article shall be destroyed. In lieu of such destruction, any such serviceable dangerous article may, upon order of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, be transferred to and used by any federal or District Government law-enforcing agency, and the agency receiving same shall establish property responsibility and records of these dangerous articles.

(g) The Property Clerk shall not be liable in damages for any action performed in good faith under this section.


(July 8, 1932, ch. 465, § 18; Feb. 20, 1952, 66 Stat. 8, ch. 47, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 15(m), 41 DCR 1639; June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-284, § 7, 46 DCR 1328.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3217.

1973 Ed., § 22-3217.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-133.16.

Cross References

Ammunition feeding devices transfers, prohibition and exception under this section, see § 5-133.16.

Return of property by Property Clerk, see § 5-119.06.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 7 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization and Street Solicitation for Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-428, August 6, 1998, 45 DCR 5884).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 7 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-506, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 45 8139), and § 7 of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-13, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2333).

Temporary Legislation

Section 7 of D.C. Law 12-282 inserted “or when a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department in the course of a lawful search” in (c); and, in (e), inserted “or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department.”

Section 13(b) of D.C. Law 12-282 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.