Washington DC criminal law has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Several types of gun offenses exist within the DC code. Some offenses are misdemeanors and some are felonies.
There are two gun offenses that are misdemeanors. First, possession of an unregistered firearm is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Second, unlawful possession of ammunition carries the same penalty. That means someone caught with a gun and bullets can get charged for both the gun and the bullets. Unless the person is also charged with carrying a pistol, which is a felony, the DC Attorney General’s Office prosecutes these charges.
Carrying a pistol is a felony crime in DC, which makes it felony to carry a firearm on one’s person or in one’s vehicle anywhere in DC. The fact that the firearm may be lawfully registered in a different state is typically not a defense to carrying a pistol, unregistered firearm, or unlawful possession of ammunition. When felony charges are involved, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecutes the crime.
If someone has a prior felony conviction, DC criminal law absolutely prohibits that person from possessing a firearm. Felon in possession of a firearm carries either a one or three year mandatory minimum jail sentence depending on the nature of the prior felony conviction. Mandatory minimum means that the judge cannot lawfully suspend that part of the sentence no matter what other mitigating factors exist in a case.
Additional enhanced penalties apply to other crimes, when a gun is used when a crime is committed. Gun charges in DC are serious. If you are charged with a gun crime, you should immediately consult an experienced DC gun lawyer.