The Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 was passed by the District of Columbia city council on September 24, 1976.  The law banned residents from owning handguns , automatic firearms , or high-capacity semi-automatic firearms , as well as prohibited possession of unregistered firearms . Exceptions to the ban were allowed for police officers and guns registered before 1976. The law also required firearms kept in the home to be "unloaded, disassembled, or bound by a trigger lock or similar device";  this was deemed to be a prohibition on the use of firearms for self-defense in the home.  On June 26, 2008, in the historic case of District of Columbia v. Heller , the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the ban and trigger lock provisions violate the Second Amendment .
Washington, D.C. 's gun laws are considered by many to be the strictest in the United States , and have been challenged as infringing on constitutional rights protected by the United States Constitution 's Second Amendment . On March 9, 2007, portions of the law were declared unconstitutional by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals , in a 2-1 ruling in the case District of Columbia v. Heller .  After the District's application for a rehearing en banc was denied, it appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States . On June 26, 2008, the Court determined that the ban and trigger lock provision violate the Second Amendment.  However, the ruling does not prohibit all forms of gun control ; laws requiring firearm registration remain in place as does the city's assault weapon ban.