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Saturday, 25 April 2020 16:54

Important News on DC Concealed Carry Licenses and Firearms Transfers

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.


There have been a number of important developments affecting DC Concealed Carry Licensees, and new and renewal applicants.

First, due to the Corona virus medical emergency, indoor ranges are closed and in person classes are difficult, if not impossible to conduct classes and shooting qualifications. This especially impacts persons with DC carry licenses up for renewal while the Corona virus emergency is pending.

I brought this fact up to MPD and DC City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who in turn spoke to Chief Newsome about extending the expiration date on expiring licenses. The DC council then passed legislation giving the Mayor authority to extend expiring licenses (carry as well as other licenses) through the current medical emergency. Chief Newsome then exercised that authority by extending licenses expiring during the medical emergency for the duration of the medical emergency and for an additional 45 days thereafter.

With respect to handling training while the emergency lasts, MPD gave me the thumbs up on conducting the classroom portion of the DC Concealed Carry training online. Mark Briley of Capital Defense Instruction and I just completed our first online course with nine new students and 20 renewal students. The course went off without a hitch. We will be conducting our May 16-17 course also online. Spots are currently available in that course for new and renewal students.

On the not so good side, DC Concealed Carry License renewals are now taking up to two months to process. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, there was a large number of new licenses granted approximately two years ago following the Wrenn and Grace cases that changed DC law on carry permits to ‘shall issue’, and those licenses are now expiring. Thus, MPD is currently processing an unusually large number of renewals. Second, Chief Newsome has ordered all renewal applicants to go through a full background check. Apparently, the chief thinks some people received licenses who should not have received them, and it appears MPD is being very stringent in evaluating the results of these background investigations.

This has led to some very questionable results such as licenses being denied because of police contact that did not even result in arrest, or refusing to license or renew individuals who have an arrest record even though they were never convicted of a crime.

In light of this situation, we now advise renewal applicants to submit their renewals at least two months in advance of expiration.

DC concealed carriers should also be aware that DC regulations require that they carry their guns on their body in a holster. This raises an important safety issue regarding off body carry such as in a purse, backpack or fanny pack. A firearm should always be carried so that the trigger guard is covered. Any carry device that does not cover the trigger guard is a safety hazard. We know of one case in which MPD arrested a licensed carrier where the gun was equipped with a Techna Concealed Carry Clip, a device that clips an unholstered firearm to a belt. That device should not be used in the District of Columbia, and, quite frankly, should not be used at all because the trigger guard is s not covered.

We remind you as well that DC regulations require that the firearm be fully concealed. Avoid inadvertent disclosure or printing of the firearm under clothing. Also, if the firearm is taken off the body while in a vehicle, which as discussed above potentially creates a problem, store it in a case, or car safe, or somewhere out of sight. An individual managed to get into trouble who simply put the gun in the floorboard of his vehicle. He was arrested for that following a traffic stop.
Although DC is ‘shall issue’, it is still not gun friendly.

Lastly, long time Washington DC FFL Charles Sykes has retired and is no longer handling handgun transfers in DC. In accordance with a provision passed several years ago, MPD is undertaking to perform handgun transfers until another FFL begins performing handgun transfers in DC. (There are several FFLs in the District, but none perform handgun transfers to the general public.) According to Lt. Hall, who heads MPD’s gun control section, normal FFL procedures apply to transfers via MPD. Unfortunately, MPD is continuing Mr. Sykes’s practice of charging $125 per transfer. We clearly need a gun store in the District.

Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the DC concealed carry course including the renewal course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is May 16, 2020 to be conducted online. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at] or at 703-291-3312.
This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Arsenal Attorneys

Arsenal Attorneys is a law firm serving clients in approximately 40 states. We provide criminal defense, business services, estate planning and many other services. Our law firm is renowned for serving gun owners and the firearms industry, and particularly because of our Arsenal Gun Trust™. Our main office is located near the headquarters of the National Rifle Association and of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in the Washington, DC area. We deliver legal services conveniently for clients near and far, including military personnel overseas. We help clients exercise their rights, protect their loved ones, reduce risks, protect privacy, comply with the law, and succeed in business.