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Federal Transportation of Firearms in DC

There are many factors related to the transportation of firearms from DC to other states. Federal law governs how the firearms can be transferred from one state to another. Regardless, when someone transports a firearm from one state to another, it needs to be in the trunk of a car.

If there is no area away separate area from the driver compartment in the car, a person cannot legally transport a gun. Some people install gun safes in their vehicles, but that does not necessarily provide legal protection if there is not a full separation from the driver area and the area where the gun is stored.

The person is not supposed to be able to have access to the trunk from the passenger compartment of the car. The gun should be in a locked container without ammunition in the container. The ammunition should also be someplace in the trunk and the trunk should be locked.

If you are attempting to transport firearms across state lines or are facing federal gun charges, contact a DC federal firearm lawyer to determine how best to move forward.

Public Transportation

The legality of transporting a firearm on public transportation varies in each state. In the District of Columbia, a person is not allowed to transport a firearm using public transportation, such as the Metro or a bus. The issue of concealed or an open carry permit is still the subject of litigation in the District of Columbia, but currently, that is not legal.

When someone transports a legally purchased firearm in the District of Columbia, it must be transported in the locked trunk of a vehicle to be in compliance with both the district and federal guidelines regarding the transportation of a firearm. Inside that trunk, the firearm must be separated from the ammunition. Typically, the best way to do that is to have a gun in locked carrying case or in a locked box and the ammunition in a separate locked container.

Transportation Across State Lines

If a person is traveling through the District of Columbia to another state, the other state needs to be a state that permits firearms and has reciprocal recognition of the other state’s law. For example, a person could transport a firearm from North Carolina to Virginia because those are reciprocal states where a person could travel with a firearm from one state to another.

The issue that comes into play is whether a permit or a registration from one state is good in another state. Registrations from the District Columbia may not be recognized in other states. A person will have a very difficult time transporting a firearm from District of Columbia to anther jurisdiction.

For example, it may be permissible for a person to travel with firearms from Virginia to Maryland, which allows firearms. However, if a person is traveling through the District of Columbia, they cannot make any sort of detour. If they are traveling on the highway, they must stay on that highway. It is impermissible to get off the highway and go on the streets in the District of Columbia.

Common Misconceptions

Currently, in the District of Columbia, a person can have a registered firearm in his or her home. In order to legally transport that firearm to a gun range, the firearm must be in the trunk of the person’s car with the ammunition out of the gun and in a separate compartment. That is the only way to transport a firearm safely and legally in the District of Columbia.

A common misconception is that when a person has registered the gun, they can carry it on his or her person. That is not the case. There is no federal right or ability to carry a firearm on anybody’s person in Washington, DC at this point in time.

There are people who have firearms registered legally in other states who believe they can bring it into the District of Columbia. However, the District of Columbia does not recognize carry permits from other states.

Potential Penalties

When someone in the District of Columbia is found to have a firearm on their person outside of a home, they can be charged with carrying a pistol without a license. There is no mandatory minimum sentence for that, but the sentence can carry up to a five-year prison sentence. There are misdemeanors that are associated with that as well. When a person has ammunition, the possession of unlawful possession of ammunition is a misdemeanor that carries up to a one-year prison term. If the firearm is not registered in the District of Columbia, that is also a misdemeanor carrying up to one-year prison time.

When a person has a prior felony conviction and he or she is charged with carrying a pistol without a license; that is an additional charge called felon in possession. In the District of Columbia, that can carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.

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