Second Amendment March & D.C. Laws On Ammunition & Magazines

Second Amendment March & D.C. Laws On Ammunition & Magazines
Regarding the upcoming Second Amendment March in D.C.

Letters to the AmmoLand Editor: Got something on your mind? Let us know and you can see it here.
Letters to the AmmoLand Editor: Got something on your mind? Let us know and you can see it here.

Washington, DC –-( I have written to the organizers of the March to suggest that they offer much more prominent warnings about D.C.’s restrictive laws, and I think this would also be advisable for people promoting the event in various states.

Right now, the Second Amendment March merely notes that D.C. laws “prohibit carrying firearms in public.” That is certainly true, but there are a lot of other prohibitions as well, retained in the 2009 rewrite of the D.C. gun laws that was upheld by a federal judge last week. The currently effective D.C. laws are much more restrictive than those in effect in most states, including even Maryland.

Mere possession of any type of firearm is generally banned, including possession in personal vehicles and hotel rooms, even if unloaded and fully cased. Someone who is merely driving through D.C. with an unloaded, cased gun might claim the protection of federal law (18 USC Section 926A), but this does not apply to persons who stop in D.C. for an event in D.C. (There is also a limited exception that applies to the handful of D.C. residents who have gone through the burdensome gun registration requirements established by the 2009 D.C. gun law.) Moreover — and this is a biggie — it is a separate offense to possess even a single round of any type of ammunition, either on one’s person or in a vehicle.

Tourists are often arrested for violations of this law. (I believe I have even read of arrests for rounds that were displayed on belt buckles and such, although I suspect that such cases are later dismissed. I have read of arrests for the stray shotgun shell rolling around in the pickup and that sort of thing — shades of Mexico.)

It is another separate offense to possess a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds, even if it is empty and “regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm.”

It is another separate offense, punishable by a 5-year term, to ride in a motor vehicle in which one is aware there is a firearm, with certain narrow exceptions.

Of course, D.C. law does not recognize carry permits from any jurisidiction. The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act does apply in D.C., however.

The D.C. event will be closely scrutinized, I suspect, by ranking officers in multiple agencies who are not in sympathy with its purposes, who will be looking for violations of any of the D.C. gun laws. And, unless the March promoters step up their warnings, I expect we’ll be reading about arrests in the April 20 edition of the Washington Post.

Douglas Johnson Maryland
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