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Disposal of Unwanted Firearms

People should also know that if they have a gun – legally registered or not – that they want to get rid of and make sure it doesn’t end up on the street, they can contact the police. We’ll take the gun, and as long as it has not been used in a crime, they won’t face any penalties for possessing it.

Disposal of Unwanted Firearms

Some people who registered a gun may not want to keep it. There are legal ways to dispose of or voluntarily surrender a firearm:

  • Sell the firearm to a licensed dealer
  • Lawfully remove the firearm from the District of Columbia by moving it to a place where it can be lawfully possessed or giving it to a person who can lawfully possess it.
  • Turn the firearm over to the police
  • Under District law, anyone can voluntarily surrender a firearm to police.
  • They won’t be charged with a crime for possessing an unregistered firearm.  (There is no immunity for having used the gun in a crime.)
  • They don’t have to provide identification, photographs, or fingerprints.
  • The gun must be unloaded.
  • To avoid any unnecessary confusion and a potentially dangerous situation, I’d recommend that they contact the police station right before bringing it in.  

Language in the DC Official Code
If a person or organization within the District voluntarily and peaceably delivers and abandons to the Chief of Police any firearm, destructive device or ammunition at any time, such delivery shall preclude the arrest and prosecution of such person on a charge of violating any provision of this section with respect to the firearm, destructive device, or ammunition voluntarily delivered. Delivery under this section may be made at any police district, station, or central headquarters, or by summoning a police officer to the person’s residence or place of business. Every firearm and destructive device to be delivered and abandoned to the Chief under this section shall be unloaded and securely wrapped in a package, and, in the case of delivery to a police facility, the package shall be carried in open view. No person who delivers and abandons a firearm, destructive device, or ammunition under this section, shall be required to furnish identification, photographs or fingerprints. No amount of money shall be paid for any firearm, destructive device, or ammunition delivered and abandoned under this section. (D.C. Official Code § 7-2507.05 (a))