Citation(s) from the literature library

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Firearm Prohibitions in Washington DC.’ Who Can Have a Gun. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 31 July

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[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in the District of Columbia

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Generally, no person or organization may possess or control any firearm in the District of Columbia unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate. Since 1976, the District generally has deemed handguns that were not registered to the current owner prior to September 24, 1976 as unregisterable firearms. Handguns may now be registered for the limited purpose of self-defense within the registrant's home.

To obtain a registration certificate, an applicant must pass a background check conducted by the Chief of Police (Chief). This background check is in addition to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check required by the Brady Act when purchasing a gun from a federally licensed dealer. The Chief must confirm that the applicant:

- Meets the District's age requirements…;
- Has not been convicted of a crime of violence, weapons offense, or of a violation of a firearms control law;
- Is not under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense;
- Has not been convicted within five years prior to the application of any:
- Violation in any jurisdiction of any law restricting the use, possession or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug; or
- A violation of D.C. Code Ann. § 22-407 (threats to do bodily harm) or D.C. Code Ann. § 22-404 (assaults and threats) or any similar law of any other jurisdiction that may indicate a likelihood to us a firearm unlawfully;
- Has not been convicted of two or more violations of D.C. Code Ann. § 50-2201.05(b) (driving under the influence of liquor or drugs), or in any other jurisdiction any law restricting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Within the five years immediately preceding the application:
- Has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court;
- Has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution; or
- Has not had a history of violent behavior;
- Does not appear to suffer from a physical defect which tends to indicate that the applicant would not be able to possess and use a firearm safely and responsibly;
- Has not been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury to another human being;
- Is not otherwise ineligible to possess a handgun under D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503 (various prohibitions under the label "unlawful possession of firearm," including any person addicted to a controlled substance, a fugitive from justice, or any person subject to a court order restraining him or her from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening a petitioner or any other person named in the order and that requires the person restrained to relinquish possession of any firearms);
- Demonstrates satisfactory knowledge of the laws of the District pertaining to firearms and the safe and responsible use, handling, and storage of firearms in accordance with tests and standards prescribed by the Chief;
- Has completed a firearms training or safety course or class, conducted by a state-certified firearms instructor or a certified military firearms instructor, that provides at a minimum at least one hour of firing training at a firing range and at least for hours of classroom instruction;
- Has vision better than or equal to that required to obtain a valid driver's license under the laws of the District;
- Has not been convicted of any intrafamily offense;
- Has not been the respondent in an intrafamily proceeding in which a civil protection order was issued against the applicant, or in a proceeding in which a foreign protection order was issued against the applicant (an applicant who has been the subject of such an order shall be eligible for registration if the applicant has submitted to the Chief a certified court record establishing that the order has expired or has been rescinded for a period of five years or more); and
- Has not been prohibited from possessing or registering a firearm pursuant to certain duties imposed upon registrants related to reporting the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm.

In addition, a registration applicant may be disqualified for adjudication of negligence if he or she has had an entry of judgment or a consent order or decree of negligence against him or her in any civil suit concerning the discharge of a firearm resulting in death or serious injury to a human being without regard to the filing of criminal charges, or the finding by a coroner of negligent homicide…

ID: Q7262

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