Transporting Firearms in DC
Licensed firearm dealers are permitted to transport firearms in certain situations in DC. They are allowed to sell firearms to other licensed dealers and they are allowed to transport and sell ammunitions to other licensed dealers. However, individuals cannot legally transport a firearm outside of their home or place of business in DC, even if they have a firearms registration.
It is important to understand the specific regulations regarding transporting firearms in DC, so as to not get charged with any violating offenses. If someone does face charges, it is important for them to work with a skilled DC gun lawyer who can help them fight their transportation charges.
Being in possession of a pistol, a handheld weapon that can be fired with one hand, is considered a felony in some situations even if the person has a valid concealed carry or open carry permit in another state. Having a concealed carry or open carry permit does not save that person from avoiding criminal charges. The only situation in which a person may be allowed to transport a firearm in DC without facing prosecution is if they are in possession of a valid concealed carry or open carry permit from another state and are transporting that firearm through DC without stopping in DC.
If a person is going from Michigan where they have a concealed carry permit and traveling to South Carolina where they have a valid concealed carry permit and they drive through DC without the permit, that does not necessarily expose that person to DC firearm laws as long as the weapon is stored in the vehicle in accordance with legal requirements. However, if the person intends to stop in DC, they would be subject to DC laws regarding registration and licensing and could find themselves facing very serious criminal charges.
Compartments Holding Firearms
A person can legally transport a firearm through Washington, DC from a state where their firearm is licensed to a state where their firearm is licensed. However, they must follow very specific conditions to legally transport that firearm and not face criminal prosecution. Most importantly, the firearm must be kept in a locked case, the gun cannot be loaded, and there can be no ammunition in the chamber.
The ammunition must be kept separately from the gun. The gun cannot be kept in the passenger compartment of the car. It must be kept in the trunk of the car. If there is no trunk, it must be kept in the rear-most portion of the vehicle. That is the rear area of an SUV or a hatchback.
A person is never permitted to transport firearms using public transportation. No one can transport a firearm on the DC Metro System or on a bus. The only way a person can transport a firearm is in a vehicle following the rules set out by DC law for transporting firearms in a vehicle. Aside from that, it is possible to transport a firearm on an airplane in a person’s checked baggage.
There are two situations in which it is a very serious crime to transport a firearm through DC or to DC. In the first situation, a person is never allowed to transport a firearm in DC when they were previously convicted of a felony. A felony is defined under DC law as any crime where the maximum possible penalty is more than one year in prison. People in that situation are not under any circumstances allowed to be in possession of firearms in DC. Doing so can cause a person to face very serious felony charges in DC and potentially even federal charges.
The second situation is when someone transports a firearm to Washington DC from another state who has the intention of committing a crime in Washington DC. They can be charged with a federal crime. The charge is transporting a firearm across state lines with the intention of committing a crime in DC.
Unlawful Transportation Penalties
If a person is found to be in possession of a firearm in DC, they can be facing felony charges of carrying a pistol without the proper licensing. That person could get up to five years of prison time but only if the firearm in question is a pistol. A pistol is a firearm meant to be held and fired using only one hand. That is different from shotguns or rifles which require two hands to be fired. If a person is found in possession of a non-pistol firearm, they face only misdemeanor charges of being in possession of an unregistered firearm which can result in up to one year of jail time.
This penalty applies whether the person is in possession or is transporting the firearm from another state into DC. A person charged as being in possession of a firearm who has a prior felony conviction could face much more serious felony charges. A person with a prior felony conviction who is in possession of a firearm in DC or is transporting a firearm from another state to DC faces up to 10 years of prison time and a fine of up to $25,000. That person also faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of one year. That means the judge cannot give that person less than one year of prison time.