Washington D.C. 80 Percent Lower Laws thumbnail image

Washington D.C. 80 Percent Lower Laws

80 Percent Arms   |   Feb 10th 2022

Disclaimer: To get started, we want to share a small disclaimer. We are dedicated and proud supporters of everything 2nd amendment, but we are not lawyers. So, before you take what you read here and run with it, you will want to double-check all of your local or state gun laws. Make sure you are up to date on any special regulations that may apply to you and your situation. Gun laws are always changing and always do your part to stay up to date with the newest and current laws.

This information is provided as a service to the public. It is NOT intended to be taken as legal advice and should never be considered as such. Make sure to do your own research as you and you alone are responsible for your own actions.

This is a developing list of information we intend to update regularly to stay accurate and current. If you see a discrepancy or a mistake with your home state’s laws that we’ve covered, feel free to let us know so we can correct it. Thank you and stay safe!

What is an 80% Lower?

An 80% lower receiver is an unfinished and unserialized blank which requires some machining work from the end user to turn it into a 100% lower receiver, otherwise, what is legally considered as a firearm. 80 lowers are missing the trigger pocket and three holes that need to be milled and drilled out to be completed. Unless states have passed their own laws barring the possession or sales of 80% products; pending the ATF's updated decision from the most recent proposed rule 2021R-05 80% lowers are completely legal, not considered firearms and thus can be shipped straight to your front door. No FFL required. To explore the 80% lower receivers we have to offer, check out our multiple collections.

Are 80 Lowers Legal In Washington D.C.?

As of this guide’s initial publish date, 80% lower receivers and frames are not considered as firearms by the ATF however they are not legal to ship directly to buyers residing in the District of Columbia.

Key Gun Laws in Washington D.C.

Other than laws regarding 80 lowers, these are the key gun laws you should be aware of if you reside or are traveling through Washington D.C..

Firearm Possession and Purchase Requirements in Washington D.C.

In the District of Columbia, no person under the age of 21 may purchase a firearm. However, those between the age of 18-21 can still own firearms by applying for a registration certificate which also requires a notarized statement from a parent/guardian that the applicant has permission to own and use the firearm to be registered and that the parent/guardian assumes all civil liability for all damages resulting from the actions of the applicant in the use of the firearm to be registered.

All firearm purchases and private party transfers must be registered and require a background check (Dealer Record of Sale also known as 4473 form or “DROS”). While federal law requires federal firearm license holders (“FFL’s”:) to initiate background checks on buyers prior to the sale of a firearm, federal law also allows states to serve as their own “point of contact” and conduct their own background checks via state, federal records or databases, as well as the option to use the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. Washington D.C. is not a point of contact for the NICS and as a result, firearms dealers conduct background checks required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly. They also have a 10-day waiting period before gun buyers can pick up their purchase.

Open and Concealed Carrying

Washington D.C. does not allow open carry and issues concealed carry weapon permits in the form of “LTC’s,” or a License To Carry. Conceal carriers must be at least 21 years of age and pass a state-approved firearms training course that includes live-fire exercises. Applicants must live or work within the District of Columbia. Non-resident applicants may also apply provided they already have a permit in the state they reside in. Washington D.C. is a “shall issue” state. Be aware of the limits of open and conceal carrying by checking the state restrictions. To see which states’ concealed carry permits it honors check this reciprocity map here.

NFA Restrictions

Being our nation’s capital, gun control laws are exceptionally strict in Washington D.C.. Essentially, all NFA weapons and related items such as suppressors or destructive devices are not allowed in D.C.. While short barreled rifles are not specifically mentioned in the capital’s laws, those are covered by their assault weapon ban. The “AWB” in place restricts what the capital has defined as assault weapons which includes .50 BMG rifles.

Magazine Capacity Restrictions

There is a magazine capacity ban in D.C. which limits magazine capacity to only 10 rounds.

Mandatory Storage Requirements

Residents and people traveling through Washington D.C. should be aware of “safe storage” laws which require that each firearm owner keep their firearm in his or possession unloaded and either disassembled or secured by a trigger lock, gun safe, locked box, or other secure device.

Be sure to exercise caution because you can definitely be tried for negligently leaving your guns accessible to children. If you need some good ideas or best practices for storing your guns and gear here are five home firearm storage options.


D.C. does not have a stand your ground law in place nor a Castle Doctrine. However, it does have some self-defense laws in place that protect your need for self-defense response when in danger at home.

Ammunition Purchase

Purchasing ammunition in D.C. is incredibly strict. You cannot own ammunition unless you are a holder of a valid registration certificate for a firearm. Each sale or transfer must be made in person while proof is provided that the ammunition is purchased for an existing firearm that’s already been registered under the buyer’s name (caliber/gauge must be correct). All transaction records must be maintained by the dealer for at least 1 year from the date of sale. Law enforcement officers, licensed firearms dealers, licensed collectors, and firearms instructors are exempt.

Can you own any guns at all in Washington D.C.?

It used to be that all firearm possession would be considered a crime. Now, civilians are allowed to keep a firearm in their home or place of business as long as the firearm was lawfully purchased and is registered with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. While we can’t ship any 80 lowers or frames to D.C. residents we still have plenty of AR parts and accessories and Glock compatible upgrades for you to improve your preexisting firearms and builds you already own.