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washington dc ccw

Washington D.C. concealed carry regulations are some of the most severe in the nation, comparable to New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and Maryland.

A small cross-section of the population will qualify for this District's strenuous concealed carry license, which is strictly administered on a may-issue basis and is required as per D.C. Official Code § 22-4504(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:.

There are 20 outlined requirements in the District of Columbia's CCW permit application, but recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the "good reason" requirement for carrying a concealed handgun. The application procedure below for the "good reason" requirement is subject to change pending administrative update from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

Here's a quick guide on how concealed carry works in Washington D.C.

Applying For A Washington D.C. Concealed Carry Permit

washington dc ccw permit

Before going through the process of applying for a Washington D.C. concealed carry permit, there are a couple laws to consider: D.C. Official Code § 22–4504.01Notwithstanding 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.
and § 22–4504.02(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.

§ 22–4504.01: As long as the firearm is registered appropriately, it may carried in the gun owner's home, while being used for lawful recreational purposes, while kept at their place of business and while being transported for lawful purpose in the following statute.

§ 22–4504.02 A firearm may be lawfully transported in a motor vehicle as long as it's unloaded and neither it nor its ammunition is accessible from the passenger compartment, and if the vehicle doesn't have a compartment separate from the driver's compartment, then the firearm must be unloaded, inside a locked container and separate from any ammunition.

The Washington D.C. concealed carry permit application process will require a Metropolitan Police Department Firearms Registration Section concealed carry pistol license application, and the license may be issued to both residents and nonresidents.

Complete the application. It will include 20 questions regarding criminal background, mental health background, substance abuse, assault charges, firearms negligence charges, disabilities, driving violations, civil protection orders, alcohol use/abuse, pistol registration, residence, place of business, any out-of-state permits and other pertinent information.

Questions 16-20 will require additional documents included with the application if the applicant answered yes to them.

Question 16 asks whether the applicant will be registering a pistol with the application, 17 asks if they suffer from a mental illness that makes them a risk to themself or others and 18-20 pertain to residence.

The Metropolitan Police Department released an official document with a checklist explaining the entire application process.

Under D.C. Municipal Regulations Section 2332.1, an applicant is eligible for a concealed carry license under eight criteria, if they:

  1. Are 21 years old
  2. Meet all the requirements for registering a firearm, as per the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975
  3. Possess a pistol in accordance to that act
  4. Do not currently have, or hasn't had in the prior five years, a disqualifying mental illness that would make them a danger to themself or others, and they've submitted all the required documents under § 2337.32337.3 The Chief may find the applicant has satisfied the requirements of § 2331.1(d) if the applicant submits a notarized report under oath from a registered psychologist or psychiatrist, with which the applicant has bona fide patient relationship, stating that the psychologist or psychiatrist has examined the applicant within six (6) months prior to submitting the statement and found the applicant to no longer to be suffering from any mental illness or condition that creates a substantial risk that he or she is a danger to himself or herself or others.
  5. Have completed the required firearms training course from an instructor approved by the Chief of Police
  6. Have a place of residence within D.C., within the U.S. (and has a CCW permit from that respective state) or within the U.S. (and they meet all the predetermined criteria as per the act)
  7. Have demonstrated good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property, or has another proper reason to carry a pistol
  8. Is a "suitable person to be so licensed"

The training requirement includes a 16-hour course2336 FIREARMS TRAINING COURSE REQUIRMENTS
2336.1 To satisfy the firearms training eligibly requirement of § 2332.1(e), a person shall obtain
a certificate of completion from an instructor (or instructors) certified by the Chief that
includes at least sixteen (16) hours of training, and covers the following:
(a) Firearm safety, including firearm safety in the home, a discussion of prevention of
access by minors, locking and storing of firearms, and use of safety devices such
as secure lock boxes;
(b) Firearm nomenclature;
(c) The basic principles of marksmanship;
(d) The care, cleaning, maintenance, loading, unloading, and storage of pistols;
(e) Situational awareness, conflict management, and moral and ethical decisions on
the use of deadly force;
(f) Defensive pistol and ammunition selection; and
(g) All applicable District and federal firearms laws, including the requirements of
the Act, An Act To control the possession, sale, transfer, and use of pistols and
other dangerous weapons in the District of Columbia, to provide penalties, to
prescribe rules of evidence, and for other purposes, approved July 8, 1932 (47
Stat. 650; D.C. Official Code § 22-4501 et seq.), and District law pertaining to
from an MPD-certified firearms training instructor, a list of which can be found here, and an additional two hours of range training2336.2 In addition to the requirements of § 2336.1, a person shall complete at least two (2) hours
of range training, including shooting a qualification course of fifty (50) rounds of
ammunition from a maximum distance of fifteen (15) yards (forty-five (45) feet), and
receiving a qualifying score of seventy percent (70%) as certified by the instructor
. These training requirements may be waived, but supporting documentation for a valid alternativeTraining provided by the NRA
Retired law enforcement credentials
Armed special officer license
DD Form 214 with annotation that shows special training for marksmanship
A hunting license
must be provided.

The applicant, however, can submit the application prior to fulfilling the training requirement and receive preliminary notice whether or not they qualify based on all other factors, and then fulfill the training requirement within 45 days of application approval.

The applicant must also provide proof of good reason to fear injury to person or property, or other proper reason to carry a concealed pistol.

The "good reason" requirement is not satisfied by simply living in an area with a high crime rate. The applicant must show a "special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks."

An example of an "other proper reason" is the need to carry large quantities of cash or valuables during employment, but there is another outlined reason for "the need for a parent, son, daughter, sibling or other adult member of the immediate family to provide protection of a family member who is physically or mentally incapacitated to a point where he or she cannot act in defense of himself or herself, or his or her property."

There will, of course, be fees for the application, fingerprints for a background check when submitting the application and so on under § 2331.12331 FEES
2331.1 The following fees shall be charged in connection with the services provided under this chapter:
(a) Accident reports – $3.00;
(b) Arrest records – $7.00;
(c) Fingerprints – $35.00;
(d) Firearm registration – $13.00;
(e) Firearms training instructor certification – $400.00;
(f) Transcript of records – $3.00; and
(g) License to carry a pistol – $75.00.

The Chief of Police will determine the candidate's eligibility based on 14 requirements2338.2 The following areas shall be a part of the investigation of every applicant and shall be considered by the Chief in determining whether a concealed carry license shall be issued:
(a) Age of the applicant;
(b) Occupation, profession, or employment of the applicant;
(c) Verification of the applicant’s eligibility, including a firearms training course
completion certificate from a certified trainer;
(d) Verification of the information supplied by the applicant in the application;
(e) Information received from personal references and other persons interviewed;
(f) Information received from business or employment references as may be
necessary in the discretion of the investigator;
(g) Criminal record of applicant, including any juvenile record.
(h) Medical or mental health history of applicant as it may pertain to the applicant’s
fitness to carry, wear, or transport a handgun;
(i) Psychiatric or psychological background of the applicant as it may pertain to the
applicant’s fitness to carry, wear, or transport a handgun;
(j) The applicant’s propensity for violence or instability that could reasonably render
the applicant’s wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun a danger to the
applicant or to others;
(k) The applicant’s use of intoxicating beverages or drugs;
(l) The reasons given by the applicant for carrying, wearing, or transporting a
handgun, and whether those reasons demonstrate good cause;
(m) Whether the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution for the applicant
against apprehended danger; and
(n) Any other areas the Chief determines are reasonably necessary to determine if the
applicant is eligible to obtain a concealed carry license.
within 90 days, according to § 2339.12339.1 The Chief shall issue a preliminary approval to carry a concealed pistol or provide a written denial of the application within a reasonable time after receiving an application containing all required supporting documents, with the exception of proof of completion of the firearms training requirements. A reasonable period of time shall normally be within ninety (90) days; however, the time may be extended by the Chief for an additional ninety (90) days where there is good cause for additional time to complete the investigation and the applicant is so notified in writing., but may be extended by another 90 days. If denied, the candidate may appeal within 15 days, as per § 2342.12342.1 A person whose original or renewal permit application is denied or whose permit is revoked or limited may submit a written request to the Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board (Board) to review the decision of the Chief within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the notice of denial, revocation, or limitation..

And, if granted the license, the concealed carrier may not carry more than 20 rounds of ammunition2343.1 A person issued a concealed carry license by the Chief, while carrying the pistol, shall not carry more ammunition than is required to render the pistol fully loaded, and in no event shall that amount be greater than twenty (20) rounds of ammunition on hand.

Once granted the license, which is valid for two years total as per § 7–2509.03, it may be renewed if the applicant meets the previous requirements, but only 4 hours of training will be required and the applicant must provide proof of 2 hours of range practice within the previous 12 months. The Chief of Police may prescribe additional requirements for renewal.

Gun Free Zones In Washington D.C.

washington dc gun laws

Washington D.C. restricts firearms in gun free zones, and has signage laws preventing concealed carry licensees from entering non-residential private property.

The signage statutes are listed under § 2346.1 and 2346.22346 SIGNAGE TO PREVENT ENTRANCE BY CONCEALED CARRY LICENSEE
2346.1 Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited on any private property shall be clearly and conspicuously posted at any entrance, open to the public, of a building, premises, or real property.
2346.2 A sign shall be considered conspicuous if it is at least eight (8) inches by ten (10) inches in size and contains writing in dark ink using not less than thirty-six (36) point type.
. Firearms-prohibited signs must be posted at the entrance of a building, premises or property that is accessible to the public.

There are just shy of about 20 location restrictions for licensees listed under Section 907 of D.C.'s License to Carry a Pistol Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2014:

  1. Any D.C. government building
  2. Any building, grounds or adjacent parking lot of a childcare facility, preschool, public/private elementary or secondary school, or public/private college or university (unless the licensee is driving to and from the location to pick up their child)
  3. Hospitals, or mental/medical health offices
  4. Penal institutions, secure juvenile residential facilities or halfway houses
  5. Polling places during a public vote
  6. On public transportation vehicles, including the Metrorail transit system and its stations
  7. Premises where alcohol is served, or sold and consumed on location
  8. Stadiums and arenas
  9. Public gatherings or events, but signs must be posted
  10. Public memorials, U.S. capitol buildings/grounds and any other federally prohibited location
  11. "The area around the White House between Constitution Avenue, N.W., and H Street, N.W., and between 15th Street, N.W., and 17th Street, N.W,;"
  12. "The U.S. Naval Observatory and its grounds, and from the perimeter of its fence to the curb of Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., from 34th Street, N.W., south on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., to Observatory Circle, N.W.;"
  13. Within 1,000 feet of an MPD escort of a government entity, but signage or other forms of warning must be posted in advance
  14. At a demonstration in a public place, but the Chief or law enforcement agency must designate the area and the boundaries may not be more than 1,000 feet from the demonstration, also the area must be publically marked by signage or the policing agency must otherwise provide prior notice
  15. "Any prohibited location or circumstance that the Chief determines by rule; provided, that for spontaneous circumstances, no criminal penalty shall apply unless the licensee has notice of the prohibition and has failed to comply"
  16. Carrying a concealed pistol on private residential property not owned by the licensee is generally a prohibited location unless given permission by the landowner, property that is not residential does not have this restriction
  17. Churches, synagogues and mosques are generally prohibited locations unless posted signs say otherwise
  18. "While he or she is traveling along a public street, road, or highway, including an adjacent public sidewalk that touches the perimeter of any of the premises where the carrying of a concealed pistol is prohibited"
Carrying in these locations may result in the license being revoked.

There may be other location restrictions unlisted here because this is not a completely exhaustive guide to carrying in the District of Columbia, neither is it formal legal advice.

Washington D.C. Concealed Carry Reciprocity

washington dc ccw reciprocity

Washington D.C. concealed carry reciprocity agreements are fairly limited. The District does not recognize out-of-state permits, but non-residents may apply for a Washington D.C. CCW permit.

D.C. statute § 22–4504.02 outlines that "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."

Traveling through D.C. with a firearm? Generally, it's fine if you follow the transportation statutes.

Around 20 states will recognize your D.C. permit if you're one of the lucky few to actually qualify and receive the concealed pistol license.

Click On Another State To Learn About Their Concealed Carry!

gun blog writer jake smith

About The Author

Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.