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Firearms Transfer and Registration Procedures in Brief

Newly Purchased Firearm

To register a newly purchased firearm, the applicant must provide a completed MPD “Application for Firearms Registration Certificate” (or PD-219), that becomes your firearms registration certificate. You should request a PD-219 from MPD before you shop for a firearm. You may pick it up at MPD’s Firearms Registration Branch (FRB), request that it be mailed to you, or download it online (mpdc.dc.gov/firearms).

Part of the PD-219 must be completed by the SELLER. The seller is identified in each of the possible scenarios below.

Rifle or Shotgun

  • Under federal law, you may purchase a rifle or shotgun in a state in which you do not live from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). In this instance, the SELLER is whoever initially sells the firearm to you.
  • You will complete the rest of the application and bring it to MPD along with all other necessary materials to complete the registration process; the FFL will hold the firearm until it is approved by MPD.
  • Once the application is approved[1], MPD will notify you. You can pick up your registration certificate or request that it be mailed to you. Your registration process is then complete.
  • After you get the registration certificate, bring it to the dealer to pick up your rifle or shotgun.[2]

Handgun

  • Under federal law, a handgun purchased in a state in which you do not live MUST be transferred through an FFL in your state of residence. MPD is currently the only FFL conducting commercial transfers in the District of Columbia. The fee for this service, pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 7–2504.10(d), is $125 per firearm.
  • Once you purchase a firearm in another jurisdiction, request the original dealer to arrange to ship the firearm to MPD, which will then become the SELLER. (At the time of this publication, no FFLs in the District are providing retail sales to the public.) Contact the MPD to schedule an appointment.
  • Prior to the appointment, check mpdc.dc.gov/firearms for eligibility and a list of documents required for firearms license and registration applications.
  • During your appointment, MPD will provide and complete Section A of MPD’s “Application for Firearms Registration Certificate” (PD-219) and the Branch of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “Firearms Transaction Record” (form 4473).
  • Submit all other required materials to MPD during your appointment and pay the necessary fees (see District Government Fee Schedule under the Complete Firearms Registration Procedures section in this Guidebook).
  • Once the application is approved[3], MPD will contact you to schedule another appointment to pick up your handgun and registration.[4]

Previously Owned Firearm

To register a firearm you already own, you must file an application immediately after the firearm is brought into the District. You can comply with this requirement by personally communicating your intent to register the firearm to MPD before bringing the gun into the District. You must then file an application for a registration certificate within 48 hours after communicating your intent to do so.

  • Please note that it is illegal to possess a magazine that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition in the District of Columbia.
  • A Firearm Application Addendum-Used Firearm Explanation Form must be completed for all previously owned/used firearms. (Available online under Firearms Registration Forms at mpdc.dc.gov/page/firearms-registration-forms) This form requires information on seller/transferor and when, where, and location the firearm was obtained.
  • Once the application is approved3, MPD will notify you. You can pick up your registration certificate or request that it be mailed to you. Your registration process is then complete.

Notes

[1] Under DC law, the Chief of Police must approve or deny an application for a registration certificate within a 60-day period beginning on the date the Chief receives the application, unless good cause is shown, including nonreceipt of information from sources outside the District government; provided, that in the case of an application to register a firearm validly registered under prior regulations, the Chief shall have 365 days after the receipt of such application to approve or deny such application. The Chief may hold in abeyance an application where there is a revocation proceeding pending against such person or organization. (D.C. Official Code § 7-2502.07(b))

[2] Under DC law, a firearms dealer cannot release a firearm to a purchaser until 10 days after the initial date of purchase. (D.C. Official Code § 22-4508) Therefore, although MPD will process an application for registration in fewer than 10 days, the buyer cannot pick up the gun from the dealer until 10 days after initial purchase.

[3] Under DC law, the Chief of Police must approve or deny an application for a registration certificate within a 60-day period beginning on the date the Chief receives the application, unless good cause is shown, including nonreceipt of information from sources outside the District government; provided, that in the case of an application to register a firearm validly registered under prior regulations, the Chief shall have 365 days after the receipt of such application to approve or deny such application. The Chief may hold in abeyance an application where there is a revocation proceeding pending against such person or organization. (D.C. Official Code § 7-2502.07(b))

[4] Under DC law, a firearms dealer cannot release a firearm to a purchaser until 10 days after the initial date of purchase. (D.C. Official Code § 22-4508) Therefore, although MPD will process an application for registration in fewer than 10 days, the buyer cannot pick up the gun from the dealer until 10 days after initial purchase.