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Open carry is prohibited in the District1 and persons with concealed carry licenses are prohibited from carrying a handgun in the following locations or under the following circumstances:

  • A building or office occupied by the District of Columbia, its agencies, or instrumentalities;
  • The building and grounds, including any adjacent parking lot, of an childcare facility, preschool, public or private elementary or secondary school; or a public or private college or university;
  • A hospital, or an office where medical or mental health services are the primary services provided;
  • A penal institution, secure juvenile residential facility, or halfway house;
  • A polling place while voting is occurring;
  • A public transportation vehicle, including the Metrorail transit system and its stations;
  • A licensed establishment where alcohol is served, or sold and consumed, on the premises;
  • A stadium or arena;
  • A gathering or special event open to the public if the organizer has provided notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns in advance of the gathering or special event and posted signage at the event;
  • The public memorials on the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin, and any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law or by a federal agency or entity, including U.S. Capitol buildings and grounds;
  • Specific areas around the White House;
  • The U.S. Naval Observatory, its grounds, and certain adjacent areas;
  • When a dignitary or high-ranking government official is moving under the protection of law enforcement under certain circumstances;
  • Within an area no more than 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place so long as notice is provided;
  • Any prohibited location or circumstance that the Chief determines by rule; provided, that for spontaneous circumstances, no criminal penalty shall apply unless the licensee has notice of the prohibition and has failed to comply; and
  • A church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship unless authorized by the institution.2

The District also prohibits a person from carrying or having readily accessible a firearm upon the U.S. Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings.3 “Capitol Buildings” are the U.S. Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all subways and enclosed passages connecting two or more of such structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any such structure.4

Furthermore, the District prohibits possession of any firearm or ammunition in low-rent public housing5 and allows private persons or entities owning property in the District to prohibit or restrict gun possession on their property.6

Notwithstanding any other District law, a person holding a valid registration certificate for a firearm may carry that firearm:

  • Within the registrant’s home;
  • While it is being used for lawful recreational purposes;
  • While it is kept at the registrant’s place of business; or
  • While it is being transported for a lawful purpose as expressly authorized by District or federal statute and in accordance with the requirements of that statute.7


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  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4504(a).[]
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2509.07.[]
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 10-503.16(a)(1)(A).[]
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 10-503.26(1).[]
  5. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 14, § 6500.8(c)(2).[]
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503.02(b).[]
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4504.01.[]