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DC Frequently Asked Questions

Your Questions Answered

FAQ on the District’s Concealed-Carry Requirements After the Wrenn and Grace Decisions Take Effect


Q: Since you aren’t asking the Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit decision, when does their ruling removing the District’s “good reason” requirement take effect?

A: It will take effect when the D.C. Circuit issues what the courts call a “mandate” that effectuates its decision. That should happen at some point in the next few days.


Q: What is the “good reason” requirement?

A: The “good reason” standard required anyone applying for a permit to carry a concealed handgun in the District to demonstrate, in addition to meeting other criteria, a “good or other proper reason” for needing the permit.


Q: So, when that rule disappears, can anyone carry a concealed handgun in the District?

A: No; even without the “good reason” requirement, applicants for a concealed handgun must meet several other criteria, such as: • They must possess a valid registration certificate for the firearm to be carried or apply for and receive one concurrently with the application for a carry permit. • They cannot have a conviction for a felony or certain weapons offenses. • They cannot be under indictment for a crime of violence or a weapons offense. • They cannot have been, in the five years prior to applying for the permit, convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses, including: o Any violation of D.C. Code § 22-404 regarding assaults or threats, or D.C. Code § 22-407 regarding threats to do bodily harm, or equivalent thereof in another jurisdiction; o Two or more violations of any law restricting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; o Any intrafamily offense punishable as a misdemeanor; o Any stalking offense under D.C. Code 22-3133. • They cannot have been, in the five years prior to applying for the permit: o Acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity; o Determined to be a chronic alcoholic by any court. • They must meet certain criteria for mental stability: o They cannot have been, in the five years prior to applying for the permit, voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution; o They cannot have, in the five years prior to applying for a permit, suffered from, and cannot currently suffer from, any mental illness or condition that creates a substantial risk that they are a danger to themselves or others. • They cannot be blind or appear to suffer from any physical defect that would prevent them from possessing and using a firearm safely and responsibly.  • They cannot have been found negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury to another person. • They cannot be otherwise ineligible to possess a firearm under D.C. Code 22-4503, such as: o Being a fugitive from justice; o Being addicted to any controlled substance. • They must have completed a firearms safety and training course and range training certified by the Chief the Metropolitan Police Department (or demonstrate that they have completed the equivalent in another jurisdiction). • They must have completed an in-person interview with the Metropolitan Police Department.


Q: Can those who do hold a concealed-carry permit in the District carry them anywhere in the city, at any time?

A: No. Similar to the time, place, and manner restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights, there are certain limitations on the times and places where a permit holder may carry a concealed handgun in the District. Permit holders cannot carry their handguns: • While they are consuming alcohol or are otherwise impaired; • In a District government building; • On the grounds of childcare facility, public or private school or university; • At a hospital or medical/mental health office; • At a penal institute, secure juvenile facility, or halfway house; • At a polling place while voting is occurring; • On public transportation, including in Metro stations; • On premises where alcohol is served; • At a stadium or arena; • At a gathering or special event open to the public; • In certain specified buffer zones, including: o Any area where firearms are prohibited by federal law, including the U.S. Capitol building and grounds; o Public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin; o White House zone, up to and including to the curb of the adjacent sidewalks touching the roadways of the area bounded by Constitution Avenue NW, 15th Street NW, H Street NW, and 17th Street NW; o U.S. Naval Observatory zone, including the area from the perimeter of its fence up to and including to the curb of the adjacent sidewalks touching the roadway of Observatory Circle NW, from Calvert Street NW, to Massachusetts Avenue NW, and around Observatory Circle to the far corner of Observatory Lane; o Within 1,000 feet of a dignitary or high-ranking official moving under lawenforcement protection when law enforcement provides notice of the designated area and that firearms are prohibited; o Within 1,000 feet of a public demonstration. 3


Q: What are the rules for carrying on private property?

A: There are three categories of private property under the District’s concealed-carry law; for two categories, concealed carry is presumed illegal unless explicitly authorized by the property’s owners/operators; for the third category, concealed carry is presumed legal unless the property’s owners/operators have posted signage indicating otherwise: • On private residential property, concealed carry is presumed illegal unless otherwise authorized by the owner in advance of entry; • At houses of worship, unless otherwise prohibited by law, concealed carry is presumed illegal unless the institution has authorized concealed carry and posted that policy with conspicuous signage; • On other private non-residential property, concealed carry is presumed legal unless the owners and operators have posted conspicuous signage prohibiting firearms.


Q: May individuals obtain a permit for open carry under the District’s law? A: No; only concealed carry is permitted under District law. Q: Is there a renewal requirement for concealed-carry permits?

A: Yes. Concealed carry permit holders must renew their permits every two (2) years.


Q: What about the people who have applied for concealed-carry permits who met all the other criteria, but were rejected because they did not demonstrate a “good reason” under the old law? What happens to them now?

A: Prior applicants who were denied a permit for failure to comply with the “good reason” requirement should submit an updated application reflecting any changes to eligibility criteria. There is no new fee to resubmit. Those who have applications already pending but have not received a determination do not need to resubmit.


Q: Where can I get more information?

A: The laws governing the ownership and carrying of handguns can be found at D.C. Code §§ 7- 2502.01 – 7-2502.16; D.C. Code §§ 7-2509.01 – 7-2509.11; D.C. Code §§ 22-4501 – 22-4517; and 24 DCMR §§ 2300 – 2399. Information and application materials for permits are available at the Metropolitan Police Department’s website at

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