Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter V. Sale and Transfer of Firearms, Destructive Devices, and Ammunition.


§ 7–2505.01. Sales and transfers prohibited.

No person or organization shall sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of any firearm, destructive device, ghost gun, unfinished frame or receiver, or ammunition in the District except as provided in § 7-2502.10(c), § 7-2505.02, § 7-2507.05, § 7-2510.07, or § 7-2510.09.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title V, § 501, 23 DCR 2464; Mar. 16, 1978, D.C. Law 2-62, § 2, 24 DCR 5780; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-314, § 2(b), 66 DCR 1672; Apr. 27, 2021, D.C. Law 23-274, § 201(c), 68 DCR 001034.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2351.

1973 Ed., § 6-1851.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2508.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(d) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-25, Feb. 26, 2021, 68 DCR 002604).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of Ghost Guns Prohibition Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-324, May 27, 2020, 67 DCR 6721).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of Ghost Guns Prohibition Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-245, Mar. 11, 2020, 67 DCR 3086).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-41, Apr. 15, 2019, 66 DCR 5255).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-629, Jan. 30, 2019, 66 DCR 1729).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of Ghost Guns Prohibition Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-125, July 30, 2020, 67 DCR 3945).


§ 7–2505.02. Permissible sales and transfers.

(a) Any person or organization eligible to register a firearm may sell or otherwise transfer ammunition or any firearm, except those which are unregisterable under § 7-2502.02, to a licensed dealer.

(b) Any licensed dealer may sell or otherwise transfer:

(1) Ammunition, excluding one or more restricted pistol bullets, and any firearm or destructive device which is lawfully a part of such licensee’s inventory, to any nonresident person or business licensed under the acts of Congress and the jurisdiction where such person resides or conducts such business;

(2) Ammunition, including one or more restricted pistol bullets, and any firearm or destructive device which is lawfully a part of such licensee’s inventory to:

(A) Any other licensed dealer;

(B) Any law enforcement officer or agent of the District or the United States of America when such officer or agent is on duty, and acting within the scope of his duties when acquiring such firearm, ammunition, or destructive device, if the officer or agent has in his possession a statement from the head of his agency stating that the item is to be used in such officer’s or agent’s official duties.

(c) Any licensed dealer may sell or otherwise transfer a firearm except those which are unregisterable under § 7-2502.02, to any person or organization possessing a registration certificate for such firearm; provided, that if the Chief denies a registration certificate, he shall so advise the licensee who shall thereupon: (1) withhold delivery until such time as a registration certificate is issued, or, at the option of the purchaser; (2) declare the contract null and void, in which case consideration paid to the licensee shall be returned to the purchaser; provided further, that this subsection shall not apply to persons covered by subsection (b) of this section.

(d) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (e) of this section, no licensed dealer shall sell or otherwise transfer ammunition unless:

(1) The sale or transfer is made in person; and

(2) The purchaser exhibits, at the time of sale or other transfer, a valid registration certificate, or in the case of a nonresident, proof that the weapon is lawfully possessed in the jurisdiction where such person resides;

(3) The ammunition to be sold or transferred is of the same caliber or gauge as the firearm described in the registration certificate, or other proof in the case of nonresident; and

(4) The purchaser signs a receipt for the ammunition which (in addition to the other records required under this unit) shall be maintained by the licensed dealer for a period of 1 year from the date of sale.

(e) Any licensed dealer may sell ammunition to any person holding an ammunition collector’s certificate on September 24, 1976; provided, that the collector’s certificate shall be exhibited to the licensed dealer whenever the collector purchases ammunition for his collection; provided further, that the collector shall sign a receipt for the ammunition, which shall be treated in the same manner as that required under paragraph (4) of subsection (d) of this section.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title V, § 502, 23 DCR 2464; Mar. 16, 1978, D.C. Law 2-62, § 2, 24 DCR 5780; Aug. 2, 1983, D.C. Law 5-19, § 3, 30 DCR 3328; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-295, § 2(b), 60 DCR 2623.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2352.

1973 Ed., § 6-1852.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2505.01.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-295 substituted “one or more restricted pistol bullets” for “restricted pistol bullets” in (b)(1) and (b)(2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary provisions prohibiting the transfer by the Metropolitan Police Department of ammunition feeding devices, see § 2 of the Prohibition on the Transfer of Firearms Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-58, May 18, 1995, 42 DCR 2574).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) provisions prohibiting the transfer by the Metropolitan Police Department of ammunition feeding devices, see § 2 of Prohibition on the Transfer of Firearms Temporary Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 11-35, September 8, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 5304).

Editor's Notes

Prohibition on transfer of ammunition feeding devices: For provisions prohibiting the transfer by the Metropolitan Police Department of ammunition feeding devices, see § 4-191.


§ 7–2505.03. Microstamping.

(a) For the purposes of the section, the term:

(1) “Firearms dealer” means a person or organization possessing a dealer’s license under authority of subchapter IV of this chapter.

(2) “Manufacturer” means any person in business to manufacture or assemble a firearm, for sale or distribution.

(3) “Microstamp-ready” means a semiautomatic pistol that is manufactured to produce a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code on at least 2 locations on each expended cartridge case that identifies the make, model, and serial number of the pistol.

(4) “Semiautomatic pistol” means a pistol capable of utilizing a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and automatically chamber the next round, and that requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each successive round.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, beginning on January 1, 2018, a semiautomatic pistol shall be microstamp-ready if it is:

(1) Manufactured in the District of Columbia;

(2) Manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and delivered or caused to be delivered by any manufacturer to a firearms dealer in the District of Columbia; or

(3) Manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and sold, offered for sale, loaned, given, or transferred by a firearms dealer in the District of Columbia.

(c)(1) A semiautomatic pistol manufactured after January 1, 2018, that is not microstamp-ready and that was acquired outside of the District by a person who was not a District resident at the time of acquisition but who subsequently moved to the District shall be registered if the requirements of this unit are met, and may be sold, transferred, or given away; provided, that the pistol shall be sold, transferred, or given away only through a firearms dealer.

(2) If a firearms dealer lawfully acquires a microstamp-ready semiautomatic pistol that was originally purchased by a non-dealer resident of the District of Columbia, the firearms dealer shall not sell, offer for sale, loan, give, or transfer that pistol if he or she knows or reasonably should have known that the unique alphanumeric or geometric code associated with that pistol has been changed, altered, removed, or obliterated, excepting for normal wear.

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, and except for normal wear, no person shall change, alter, remove, or obliterate the unique alpha-numeric or geometric code associated with that pistol.

(2) Replacing a firing pin that has been damaged or worn and is in need of replacement for the safe use of the semiautomatic pistol or for a legitimate sporting purpose shall not alone be evidence that someone has violated this subsection.

(e) Beginning January 1, 2018, a manufacturer that delivers a semiautomatic pistol, or causes a semiautomatic pistol to be delivered, to a firearms dealer for sale in the District of Columbia shall certify whether the pistol was manufactured on or after January 1, 2018, and, if it was, that:

(1) The semiautomatic pistol will produce a unique alpha-numeric code or a geometric code on each cartridge case that identifies the make, model, and serial number of the semiautomatic pistol that expended the cartridge casing; and

(2) The manufacturer will supply the Chief with the make, model, and serial number of the semiautomatic pistol that expended the cartridge case, when presented with an alpha-numeric or geometric code from a cartridge case; provided, that the cartridge case was recovered as part of a legitimate law enforcement investigation.

(f) The Chief, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this section.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title V, § 503; as added Mar. 31, 2009, D.C. Law 17-372, § 3(m), 56 DCR 1365; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 2(f), 58 DCR 1174; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 2(m), 59 DCR 5691; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 3022(b), 61 DCR 9990; June 30, 2016, D.C. Law 21-125, § 701(b), 63 DCR 4659.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2504.08.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-377, in subsec. (f), substituted “January 1, 2013” for “January 1, 2011”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 substituted “January 1, 2014” for “January 1, 2013” wherever it appears in (b), (c)(1), and (e).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 substituted “January 1, 2016” for “January 1, 2014” throughout the section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 3(m) 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 § 502(f) 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 § 502(f) 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 § 2(m) 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(m) 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 (b), (c)(1) and (e), see § 2(m) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).

For temporary amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Microstamping Implementation Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-261, January 2, 2014, 61 DCR 324).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3022(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3022(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3022(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Microstamping Implementation Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-258, Jan. 6, 2016, 63 DCR 530).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Microstamping Implementation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-329, Mar. 16, 2016, 63 DCR 4298).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Microstamping Implementation Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-93, March 11, 2014, 61 DCR 783).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(b) of the Microstamping Implementation Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-93, Mar. 23, 2015, 63 DCR 993).


§ 7–2505.04. Prohibition on sale, transfer, ownership, or possession of designated unsafe pistol.

(a) Except as provided in subsections (c), (d), or (e) of this section, beginning January 1, 2009, a pistol that is not on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale, (also known as the California Roster of Handguns Determined Not to be Unsafe), pursuant to California Penal Code § 12131, as of January 1, 2009, may not be manufactured, sold, given, loaned, exposed for sale, transferred, or imported into the District of Columbia.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, beginning January 1, 2009, a pistol that is not on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale as of January 1, 2009, may not be owned or possessed within the District of Columbia unless that pistol was lawfully owned and registered prior to January 1, 2009.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, a District of Columbia resident who is the owner of a pistol lawfully registered prior to January 1, 2009, that is not on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale as of January 1, 2009, and who wishes to sell or transfer that pistol after January 1, 2009, may do so only by selling or transferring ownership of the handgun to a licensed firearm dealer.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, beginning January 1, 2009, a licensed firearm dealer who retains in the dealer’s inventory, or who otherwise lawfully acquires, any pistol not on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale as of January 1, 2009, may sell, loan, give, trade, or otherwise transfer the firearm only to another licensed firearm dealer.

(e) This section shall not apply to:

(1) Firearms defined as curios or relics, as defined in 27 C.F.R. § 478.11;

(2) The purchase of any firearm by any law enforcement officer or agent of the District or the United States;

(3) Pistols that are designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events, as defined by rule;

(4) Certain single-action revolvers, as defined by rule;

(5) The sale, loan, or transfer of any firearm that is to be used solely as a prop during the course of a motion picture, television, or video production by an authorized participant in the course of making that production or event or by an authorized employee or agent of the entity producing that production or event;

(6) The temporary transfer of a lawfully owned and registered firearm for the purposes of cleaning, repair, or servicing of the firearm by a licensed firearm dealer; or

(7) The possession of a firearm by a non-resident of the District of Columbia while temporarily traveling through the District; provided, that the firearm shall be transported in accordance with § 22-4504.02.

(f) The Chief shall review any additions or deletions to the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale at least annually. For purposes of District law, the Chief is authorized to revise, by rule, the roster of handguns determined not to be unsafe prescribed by subsection (a) of this section and to prescribe by rule the firearms permissible pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

(g) The Chief shall provide to the licensed firearm dealers within the District information about how to obtain a copy of the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale and any revisions to it made the Chief.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title V, § 504; as added Mar. 31, 2009, D.C. Law 17-372, § 3(m), 56 DCR 1365.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2502.02.

Emergency Legislation

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