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DC Gun Charge Misconceptions

It is important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding gun offenses in DC, and this includes some of the common misconceptions surrounding guns. These will have an impact on how someone views the regulations and their subsequent charges. If you want to know more about misconceptions about guns in DC, it is helpful to work with an experienced gun attorney who can best explain updated regulations for you.

Transportation

One of the most common misconceptions people have about gun laws in DC and gun laws, in general, is that if someone has their gun lawfully registered and licensed in their home state, they are permitted to transport that gun anywhere else in the country. They seem to have this misconception because there is a federal law that says a person is immune from prosecution if they have a gun that is lawfully registered and licensed in their home state and they are passing through another state where that gun is not registered. People who know about that law think it means that if they are in, DC, on vacation, for example, they cannot be prosecuted for being in possession of a gun that is registered and licensed in their home state. That is not what the law means. The law means that if someone is merely passing through the state, they cannot be prosecuted in that state.

For example, if a person who has a gun that is licensed and registered in Virginia drives through DC without any intention of stopping in DC, that person cannot be prosecuted in DC. However, if their destination is DC, and they are stopped there, they can still be prosecuted because they are not considered to be transporting the firearm through the city. At that point, they are considered to be in possession of the firearm in the city.

Possession in a Vehicle

Anyone considering having a gun in a vehicle in DC should know that it is almost always a bad idea. It does not matter that the gun is tucked under the seat or in the trunk of the car. In nearly all circumstance where someone has their gun in their car, the situation is probably going to be bad for that person. The Metropolitan Police Department has very aggressive gun recovery units that attempt to search peoples’ cars. They use whatever method they can to find a way to be able to search peoples’ cars. A person should be aware of that when deciding whether they want to put a gun in their car.

If a person is transporting a gun through DC, there are very strict requirements about how the gun must be transported. Every gun must be unloaded and stored with the magazine separate from the firearm. The gun must be in a locked box and there cannot be any ammunition in its chamber. The gun must be inside the gun lock box which cannot be kept in any passenger compartment of the vehicle. That means it cannot be accessible from the passenger compartment. It must be kept in the trunk or most rear portion of a vehicle such as a SUV or hatchback that does not have trunk.

Even when someone transports a gun through DC and they are found with a gun in their car, the gun must be kept in a very specific way to avoid arrest. People must be aware of these rules if they transport a gun from a lawfully licensed state through DC to another location.

Buying a Gun

The first of piece of advice a gun lawyer might give someone considering buying a gun in DC is to make sure they know the limitations of being able to possess a gun in DC. The limitations are extremely strict and aggressively enforced, and there are generally misconceived notions about the process of buying a gun in DC.

It is a complicated law to understand and many gun owners in DC have misconceptions on federal immunity from prosecution. They believe it means they cannot be prosecuted in DC as a result of being in possession of that gun. That is not how the law is interpreted and is not how the law is enforced.

 

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