With regard to Plaxico Burress’
recent foolishness my friend and I got into a discussion about which city had the strictest gun laws. I pointed out that New York State recently upped the mandatory minimum for possession of an unregistered handgun to 3.5 years, which is probably the longest MM in the nation. He responded that, the recent Supreme Court case notwithstanding, Washington DC is often considered to have the strictest laws in the country.
Regardless of the validity of our previous contentions, when we got down to trying to determine the minimum mandatory sentence for possession of a handgun in the district, we couldn’t find one.
A summary of DC gun laws is
available from the NRA but it doesn’t discuss punishment. I can’t find anything about sentencing in the DC code, but I easily could have missed it. Finally, there is the US Code, which in most cases applies to the District, but my non-legal reading of 924©(1)(a) is that it only applies to possession of a firearm that is used during a crime of violence or drug trafficking.
So I avail myself to the knowledge of the Dopesters: is there a minimum mandatory sentence for possession of a handgun in Washington D.C.?
Well, from section 7 of the DC code (about firearms)
Any person convicted of a violation of any provision of this unit shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both; except that:
(1) A person who knowingly or intentionally sells, transfers, or distributes a firearm, destructive device, or ammunition to a person under 18 years of age shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, any person who is convicted a second time for possessing an unregistered firearm shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(B) A person who in the person’s dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, possesses a pistol, or firearm that could otherwise be registered, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
(3) A person convicted of knowingly possessing restricted pistol bullets in violation of § 7-2506.01(3) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 10 years and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a mandatory-minimum term of not less than 1 year and shall not be released from prison or granted probation or suspension of sentence prior to serving the mandatory-minimum sentence, and, in addition, may be fined an amount not to exceed $10,000.