Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–2502.03. Qualifications for registration; information required for registration.

(a) No registration certificate shall be issued to any person (and in the case of a person between the ages of 18 and 21, to the person and the person's signatory parent or guardian) or organization unless the Chief determines that such person (or the president or chief executive in the case of an organization):

(1) Is 21 years of age or older; provided, that the Chief may issue to an applicant between the ages of 18 and 21 years old, and who is otherwise qualified, a registration certificate if the application is accompanied by a notarized statement of the applicant’s parent or guardian:

(A) That the applicant has the permission of the applicant's parent or guardian to own and use the firearm to be registered; and

(B) The parent or guardian assumes civil liability for all damages resulting from the actions of such applicant in the use of the firearm to be registered; provided further, that such registration certificate shall expire on such person’s 21st birthday;

(2) Has not been convicted of a weapons offense (but not an infraction or misdemeanor violation under § 7-2502.08, § 7-2507.02, § 7-2507.06, or § 7-2508.07) or a felony in this or any other jurisdiction (including a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year);

(3) Is not under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense;

(4) Has not been convicted within 5 years prior to the application of any:

(A) Violation in any jurisdiction of any law restricting the use, possession, or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug;

(B) A violation of D.C. Official Code § 22-404, regarding assaults and threats, or D.C. Official Code § 22-407, regarding threats to do bodily harm, or a violation of any similar provision of the law of another jurisdiction;

(C) Two or more violations of D.C. Official Code § 50-2201.05(b), or, in this or any other jurisdiction, any law restricting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

(D) Intrafamily offense punishable as a misdemeanor, including any similar provision in the law of another jurisdiction;

(E) Misdemeanor violation pursuant to § 7-2507.02 or § 7-2507.06;

(F) Violation of § 22-3133; or

(G) Violation of an extreme risk protection order pursuant to § 7-2510.11;

(5) Within the 5-year period immediately preceding the application, has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court; provided, that this paragraph shall not apply if such person shall present to the Chief, with the application, a medical certification indicating that the applicant has recovered from such insanity or alcoholic condition and is capable of safe and responsible possession of a firearm;

(6)(A) Within the 5-year period immediately preceding the application, has not been:

(1) Voluntarily admitted to a mental health facility;

(2) Involuntarily committed to a mental health facility by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, another court of competent jurisdiction, the Commission on Mental Health, or a similar commission in another jurisdiction;

(3) Determined by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or another court of competent jurisdiction to be an incapacitated individual, as that term is defined in § 21-2011(11);

(4) Adjudicated as a mental defective, as that term is defined in 27 C.F.R. § 478.11; or

(5) Committed to a mental institution, as that term is defined in 27 C.F.R. § 478.11;

(B) Subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not apply if the court has granted the applicant relief pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, unless the applicant, since the court granted the applicant relief pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, is again disqualified under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(6A) Within the 5 years immediately preceding the application, has not had a history of violent behavior.

(7) Does not appear to suffer from a physical defect which would tend to indicate that the applicant would not be able to possess and use a firearm safely and responsibly;

(8) Has not been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury to another human being;

(9) Is not otherwise ineligible to possess a firearm under § 22-4503;

(10) Has not failed to demonstrate satisfactorily, in accordance with a test prescribed by the Chief, a knowledge of the laws of the District of Columbia pertaining to firearms and, in particular, the requirements of this unit, the responsibilities regarding storage, and the requirements for transport; provided, that once this determination is made with respect to a given applicant for a particular firearm, it need not be made again for the same applicant with respect to a subsequent application for a firearm or for the renewal of a registration certificate pursuant to § 7-2502.07a;

(11) Is not blind, as defined in D.C. Official Code § 7-1009(1);

(12)(A) Has not been the respondent in an intrafamily proceeding in which a civil protection order was issued against the applicant pursuant to § 16-1005; provided, that an applicant who has been the subject of such an order shall be eligible for registration if the applicant has submitted to the Chief a certified court record establishing that the order has expired or has been rescinded for a period of 5 years or more; or

(B) Has not been the respondent in a proceeding in which a foreign protection order, as that term is defined in § 16-1041, was issued against the applicant; provided, that an applicant who has been the subject of such an order shall be eligible for registration if the applicant has submitted to the Chief a certified court record establishing that the order has expired or has been rescinded for a period of 5 years;

(13)(A) Has completed a firearms training and safety class provided free of charge by the Chief; or

(B) Has submitted evidence of any of the following:

(i) That the applicant has received firearms training in the United States military;

(ii) A license from another state for which firearms training is required, where the training, as determined by the Chief, is equal to or greater than that provided under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; or

(iii) That the applicant has otherwise completed a firearms training or safety course conducted by a firearms instructor that, as determined by the Chief, is equal to or greater than that conducted under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph;

(14) Has not been prohibited from possessing or registering a firearm pursuant to § 7-2502.08; and

(15) Is not the subject of an ex parte extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to § 7-2510.04 or a final extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to § 7-2510.03 or renewed pursuant to § 7-2510.06.

(b) Every person applying for a registration certificate shall provide on a form prescribed by the Chief:

(1) The full name or any other name by which the applicant is known;

(2) The present address and each home address where the applicant has resided during the 5-year period immediately preceding the application;

(3) The present business or occupation of the applicant and the address and phone number of the employer;

(4) The date and place of birth of the applicant;

(5) The sex of the applicant;

(6) Whether (and if so, the reasons) the District, the United States or the government of any state or subdivision of any state has denied or revoked the applicant’s license, registration certificate, or permit pertaining to any firearm;

(7) A description of the applicant’s role in any mishap involving a firearm, including the date, place, time, circumstances, and the names of the persons injured or killed;

(8) Repealed.

(9) The caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s identification number, serial number, and any other identifying marks on the firearm;

(10) The name and address of the person or organization from whom the firearm was obtained, and in the case of a dealer, his dealer’s license number;

(11) Where the firearm will generally be kept;

(12) Whether the applicant has applied for other registration certificates issued and outstanding;

(13) Such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of this unit.

(c) Every organization applying for a registration certificate shall:

(1) With respect to the president or chief executive of such organization, comply with the requirements of subsection (b) of this section; and

(2) Provide such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of this unit.

(d) Repealed.

(e) The Chief shall register no more than one pistol per registrant during any 30-day period; provided, that the Chief may permit a person first becoming a District resident to register more than one pistol if those pistols were lawfully owned in another jurisdiction for a period of 6 months prior to the date of the application.

(f)(1) A person disqualified under subsection (a)(6)(A) of this section, or 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4) as a result of a commitment or adjudication that occurred in the District, may petition the Superior Court for the District of Columbia for relief from disqualification.

(2) A petition filed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall:

(A) Be in writing;

(B) State the reason the petitioner was disqualified;

(C) State facts in support of the petitioner's claim that the petitioner should no longer be disqualified;

(D) Include a statement, on a form approved by the court, signed by a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or qualified psychologist within the 30-day period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for relief, stating:

(i) The symptoms or behaviors for which the petitioner has been disqualified;

(ii) The length of time that the petitioner has no longer experienced those symptoms or behaviors;

(iii) The length of time that the petitioner has been compliant with any applicable treatment plans related to the reason the petitioner was disqualified; and

(iv) That, in the physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist's opinion, the petitioner would not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety if allowed to register a firearm;

(E) Be accompanied by any appropriate exhibits, affidavits, or supporting documents, including records of any guardianship, conservatorship, or commitment proceeding related to the petitioner's disqualification;

(F) Include 2 statements from individuals who are not related to the petitioner by blood, adoption, guardianship, marriage, domestic partnership, having a child in common, cohabitating, or maintaining a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship and have known the petitioner for at least 3 years. The individuals' statements shall:

(i) Be on a form approved by the court, and signed by the individual within the 30-day period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for relief;

(ii) Describe the petitioner's reputation and character; and

(iii) State that, in the individual's opinion, the petitioner would not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety if allowed to register a firearm; and

(G) Be served upon the Office of the Attorney General.

(3)(A)(i) Upon receipt of a petition filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection, and for good cause shown, the court shall issue such orders as may be necessary to obtain any mental health records and other information relevant for the purposes of the petition. The order shall require the disclosure of records to the Office of the Attorney General so that the Office of the Attorney General can conduct a search of the petitioner's mental health records and report its findings to the court as required by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.

(ii) The court shall order the Office of the Attorney General to file a response to the petition. Within 60 days after the court's order for a response, the Office of the Attorney General shall file a response indicating whether the Office of the Attorney General supports or opposes the petition.

(iii) The court may, for good cause shown, extend in 30-day increments the date by which the Office of Attorney General must file its response under sub-subparagraph (ii) of this subparagraph.

(B) The Office of Attorney General shall:

(i) Conduct a reasonable search of all available records of the petitioner's mental health;

(ii) Perform a national criminal history and firearms eligibility background check on the petitioner; and

(iii) Include its findings under this subparagraph in its response to the court.

(C) The Metropolitan Police Department shall, upon request, provide to the Office of Attorney General any records related to the petitioner it has in its possession or could obtain after conducting a reasonable search.

(4)(A) The court shall hold a hearing on a petition filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection within 60 days after the date on which the Office of Attorney General files its response.

(B) In determining whether to grant a petition filed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court shall consider all relevant evidence, including:

(i) The reason the petitioner was disqualified;

(ii) The petitioner's mental health and criminal history records; and

(iii) Evidence of the petitioner's reputation.

(5) The court shall grant a petition filed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection if the petitioner establishes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that:

(A) The petitioner would not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and

(B) Granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.

(6) If the court grants a petition for relief pursuant to paragraph (5) of this subsection, the court shall issue an order that:

(A) States the petitioner is no longer disqualified under subsection (a)(6)(A) of this section;

(B) Orders the Clerk of the Court to submit a copy of the order to the Metropolitan Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General, and any other relevant law enforcement, pretrial, corrections, or community supervision agency; and

(C) Requires that the petitioner's record be updated in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and any other system used to determine firearm registration eligibility to reflect that the petitioner is no longer disqualified.

(7) If the court denies a petition for relief, the court shall state the reasons for its denial in writing.

(8) An order granting or denying a petition filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be a final order for the purposes of appeal.


(Sept. 24, 1976, D.C. Law 1-85, title II, § 203, 23 DCR 2464; Mar. 16, 1978, D.C. Law 2-62, § 2, 24 DCR 5780; Mar. 31, 2009, D.C. Law 17-372, § 3(d), 56 DCR 1365; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 2(a), 58 DCR 1174; Sept. 29, 2012, D.C. Law 19-170, § 2(d), 59 DCR 5691; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-279, § 2(c), 62 DCR 1944; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-314, § 2(a), 66 DCR 1672; Apr. 27, 2021, D.C. Law 23-274, § 102(a), 68 DCR 001034.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2313.

1973 Ed., § 6-1813.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-2502.04, § 7-2502.05, § 7-2502.07a, § 7-2502.09, and § 7-2504.02.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-372, in subsec. (a)(4), deleted “or” from the end of par. (A) and added pars. (C) and (D); added subsec. (a)(6A); in subsec. (a)(10), substituted “and, in particular, the safe and responsible use, handling, and storage of the same in accordance with training, tests, and standards” for “and the safe and responsible use of the same in accordance with tests and standards” and deleted “and” from the end; in subsec. (a)(11), substituted a semicolon for a period; added subsecs. (a)(12), (13), and (14); and added subsecs. (d) and (e).

D.C. Law 18-377 rewrote subsec. (a)(4)(D); in subsec. (a)(9), substituted “firearm” for “pistol”; in subsec. (a)(14), substituted “§ 7-2502.08” for “§ 7-2502.09”; rewrote subsec. (b)(3); and repealed subsec. (b)(8).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-170 rewrote (a)(2); rewrote (a)(4)(B) through (a)(4)(D); added (a)(4)(E); rewrote (a)(10) and (a)(11); rewrote (a)(13)(A) and (a)(13)(B); and repealed (d), which formerly read: “The Chief shall require any registered pistol to be submitted for a ballistics identification procedure and shall establish a reasonable fee for the procedure.”

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-279 added (a)(4)(F) and made related changes.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(c) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-25, Feb. 26, 2021, 68 DCR 002604).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-342, July 27, 2020, 67 DCR 9368).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-297, May 1, 2020, 67 DCR 5037).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-103, July 24, 2019, 66 DCR 9738).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-49, May 16, 2019, 66 DCR 6310).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Act 23-41, Apr. 15, 2019, 66 DCR 5255).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-629, Jan. 30, 2019, 66 DCR 1729).

For temporary (90 day) amendment, see § 2(b) of Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-422, July 16, 2008, 55 DCR 8237).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(c) of Second Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-502, September 16, 2008, 55 DCR 9904).

For temporary (90 day) repeal of D.C. Act 17-422, see § 5 of Second Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-502, September 16, 2008, 55 DCR 9904).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2(c) and 4 of Second Firearms Control Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-601, December 12, 2008, 56 DCR 9).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3(d) of Firearms Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-651, January 6, 2009, 56 DCR 911).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 502(a) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 502(a) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(d) of Firearms Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-352, May 11, 2012, 59 DCR 5116).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(d) of the Firearms Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-394, July 18, 2012, 59 DCR 8694).

For temporary amendment of (a) and repeal of (d), see § 2(d) of the Firearms Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-510, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 12808).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the License to Carry a Pistol Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-564, Jan. 6, 2015, 62 DCR 866, 21 STAT 527).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(c) of the License to Carry a Pistol Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-74, June 4, 2015, 62 DCR 8242, 21 DCSTAT 1451).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-123, Aug. 6, 2020, 67 DCR 5103).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 4(a) of Firearms Safety Omnibus Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2019 (D.C. Law 23-17, Sept. 11, 2019, 66 DCR 8741).