Transporting Firearms in DC

It is legal and common to own firearms in Maryland and Virginia and there are certain sections in those locations where it is most convenient to drive through DC to get to one or the other. It is not uncommon to have someone driving through DC to get to Maryland from Virginia who is transporting a firearm with them.

When they left their starting point, it was perfectly legal for them to be transporting that firearm at their destination. However, in between, if they are stopped in DC, people can get into a lot of trouble if they do not have the gun registered. By not having a gun registered, they have violated DC’s gun laws and can end up needing a gun attorney.

Unlawful Transport

Transportation of a firearm is considered unlawful when an individual transports it in a manner other than what the statute provides, meaning, it is loaded, not registered, and you are not under the United States Interstate Transportation of Firearms code exception. If an individual legally cannot have a firearm because he or she is a former felon, it is not registered in DC, or they have drugs on them, transporting it in DC is not an option.

Even when a person does have the gun registered in DC, that individual must make sure to transport it according to the statute. It must be unloaded in the trunk or unloaded locked up in a box.

Interstate Transportation of Firearms

The exception under the United States Code for interstate transportation of firearms is when a person legally has a firearm and they are transporting it from one place to another place where they may lawfully possess and carry that firearm. During the period, an individual has the exception of being prosecuted.

For example, one can possess and transport a firearm in Virginia and intend to drive through the District of Columbia to a gun range in Maryland or to someone’s house in Maryland. the firearm just has to be unloaded and locked up away from the passenger compartment, in the trunk or locked up in a box in the back, and it is separate from the ammunition. But, if a person stops in DC for any of the numerous things that people do as they travel to DC, you have just forfeited your protection under the interstate transportation of firearms code.

In DC, once stopped, the act of transporting the firearm has also stopped technically. That is a major problem in DC because of the geographic location and the highways passing through Virginia and Maryland. If transporting a gun, avoid going through DC, if it is a must, then make sure transport it locked up away from the reach of anyone according to the statute.


The charge is unlawful possession of a firearm. The prosecution does not have to prove that that person was transporting the firearm. It was in their possession whether it was in a vehicle or otherwise. Unlawful possession of a firearm for a misdemeanor is up to one year in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

If a person has a pistol on them when committing a felony, the maximum punishment is five years in prison. If convicted of a felony previously, a person could be sentenced to prison for up to ten years.