District of Columbia
Gun laws in the District of Columbia regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the District of Columbia in the United States.
In Washington, D.C., all firearms must be registered with the police, by the terms of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975.
The same law also prohibited the possession of handguns, even in private citizens’ own homes, unless they were registered before 1976. However, the handgun ban was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment acknowledges and guarantees the right of the individual to possess and carry firearms, and therefore D.C.’s ban on handguns was unconstitutional.
Following the Heller decision, the Washington D.C. City Council enacted a set of rules regulating the possession of handguns in citizens’ homes. In addition to each handgun being registered with the police, the rules require that D.C. residents undergo a background check and submit fingerprints and photos. Residents must take a gun safety course, and pass a written test on the District’s gun laws. For each gun, the police keep a spent shell for a ballistic fingerprinting database. Residents must also declare how the weapon will be used and where it will be kept.
A lawsuit was filed on August 6, 2009, to compel the district to issue permits to carry weapons.