As Seen On
As Seen On:

Traveling with Ammunition in DC

Just like with a firearm, the District of Columbia requires that an individual registers their ammunition. When a person is driving in DC with ammunition that has not been registered, they can be charged with the unlawful possession of ammunition, which has the same penalties as the misdemeanor unlawful possession of a firearm.

There is an interstate transportation of firearms exception if you are traveling through DC from one jurisdiction to another, do not stop, and the ammunition is locked up away from the driver’s reach either in the trunk or in a locked box in the back of their vehicle.

A DC gun lawyer can help mitigate these charges or even have them dropped. An experienced attorney develops relationships with prosecutors through many years of working with them that can help them come to a resolution of a case to avoid a conviction or to significantly reduce the punishment or impact in the case. An experienced DC gun lawyer can help mitigate or have the case eventually dismissed.

Traveling With Ammunition Laws

Traveling with ammunition laws apply within DC as well as surrounding jurisdictions. There are many cases where a  person originated from Maryland or Virginia in their travels and was stopped or otherwise their ammunition was found in their vehicle in DC. More cases involve someone driving from outside the District simply because the ownership of guns is so much easier and legal in Virginia and Maryland.

Unlawful possession of ammunition, just the ammunition, is a misdemeanor in DC, where the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ensuring Legal Travel

The easiest way to legally travel with ammunition is to avoid traveling through DC with ammunition. There is no reason to travel through DC with ammunition that is not registered their unless the ammunition is registered in DC and they have it locked up following the travel exception under the Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act under the US Code. However, if an individual stops in DC even just for a bit, they have lost the protection of that code.

If someone has the ammunition properly registered in the District of Columbia and they are traveling with the ammunition either in their trunk or in a locked box that is not their glove compartment or their center console, they can lawfully travel within the District of Columbia.

Exceptional Circumstances

An example of an exceptional circumstance to traveling with ammunition without legal permission is when you do not realize that there is ammunition in your vehicle. There are cases where a single cartridge with the bullet and the casing are located in the back of a pickup truck among other items. It was not easily viewable and the individual driving the pickup truck had no idea it was back there. That would be an exceptional circumstance. But that would be a situation where there is a complete defense because the driver did not know the ammunition was there and had no intention of possessing that ammunition in DC.

In that circumstance, they were technically traveling with ammunition and did not have legal permission to do so. But, they lacked the criminal intent and knowledge. That is the type of situation that would be an exceptional circumstance.


Ammunition charges are as serious as misdemeanor unlawful possession of firearm charges. It is a criminal offense. There is the possibility of jail time and a fine. If you are convicted, you must be on a gun offender registry in the District of Columbia, which is not something someone wants to put on a resume or have it appear in a background check. It can have an impact on your career depending upon on certain licenses, professional and otherwise.

Free Case Consultation
Schedule a Consultation
Contact Us Today For A Free Case Evaluation
What Our Clients Say About Us