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Private sellers in the District of Columbia must have a registration certificate in order to lawfully transfer a firearm.1 See the District Registration of Firearms section. Even where private sellers are so eligible, they may transfer registerable firearms2 only to licensed dealers.3

In addition, no person may sell a handgun to a person: 1) not of sound mind; 2) prohibited from possessing a firearm by any of the specific prohibited categories under D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503 (see the District of Columbia Prohibited Purchasers Generally section); or 3) under age 21, unless the seller is the parent or guardian of the purchaser.4 Any person who knowingly or intentionally transfers a firearm or ammunition to someone under age 18 shall be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to 10 years, or both.5

The District also prohibits the use of firearms or ammunition as security for a mortgage, deposit or pledge, and prohibits loaning, borrowing, giving, or renting a firearm or ammunition to or from another person.6


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  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(a).[]
  2. Unregisterable firearms, such as machine guns, assault weapons,.50 BMG rifles or certain unsafe handguns, among others, cannot be registered and therefore cannot be transferred. See D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02.[]
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.02(a). The District has other transfer restrictions that apply to all sellers of firearms in the district. These appear to apply only to licensed dealers, however. Sellers must wait to deliver a firearm to a purchaser after 10 days have elapsed from the time of application (except for transfers to certain law enforcement officers). D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. Firearms must be transported safely and lawfully (See D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4504.02.) D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. Prior to transfer, purchasers must sign in duplicate and deliver to the seller a statement containing his or her full name, address, occupation, color, place of birth, the date and hour of application, the caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number of the firearm to be purchased and a statement that the purchaser is not forbidden by D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503 from possessing a firearm. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508. The seller shall, within six hours after such application, sign and attach his or her address and deliver a copy to the Chief of Police, and retain the other copy for six years. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4508.[]
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4507.[]
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.06(1).[]
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.01.[]