Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

District of Columbia: Don’t Blame the Pandemic for Our Gun Laws – They’ve Always Been Awful

Monday, April 27, 2020

District of Columbia: Don’t Blame the Pandemic for Our Gun Laws – They’ve Always Been Awful

Americans across the country are grappling with the “new normal”of COVID-19-related closures and the novel ways that anti-gun politicians capitalize on the pandemic to prevent the exercise of Second Amendment rights. For residents of the nation’s capital, though, the new normal is pretty much the same as the old normal, where local politicians treat lawful gun businesses with the same enthusiasm they have for the coronavirus.

For starters, there is no place to legally purchase a firearm in the District of Columbia because there are no federal firearms licensees (FFLs) that make retail sales of guns to the public. Any gun dealer that wants to open up shop in Washington, D.C. faces stringent zoning laws that severely limit the location of a “firearms retail sales establishment.”

D.C. law also requires that residents register their firearms with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The registration process must be successfully completed before a buyer may take lawful possession of a purchased rifle or shotgun. For handguns, the process requires that the dealer selling the firearm ship the handgun to a licensed dealer in the District, where the sale is completed and the firearm released to the buyer upon registration. In addition to the District’s other fees, the buyer is liable to pay the local dealer a $125 transfer fee.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a December 2019 list of FFLs in the District of Columbia shows exactly seven entries, two of which are for the ATF itself. Of the remaining five licensees, four are for dealers in firearms (Type 01 licenses). These licensees include Charles Sykes Jr., gun control activist Josh A. Sugarmann, and the Shakespeare Theatre, Inc.  

For years, Mr. Sykes has been the only licensed gun dealer available to process transfers of handguns in D.C. Its draconian zoning laws meant that when he lost his lease in 2011, he had to temporarily close his business because he was unable to get approval for alternative locations. As District law forbids firearm transfers between unlicensed individuals, that left residents with no legal means by which to purchase handguns.   

Prompted by a lawsuit, the District eventually agreed to lease Mr. Sykes a room inside the MPD headquarters so residents would have access to a local FFL. (The MPD location was not compliant with the zoning law, so an emergency amendment of the District’s zoning regulations had to be made.)

This March, however, Mr. Sykes quit.

Because there is no other commercial FFL operating in the District, residents are now required to go through the MPD as the local middleman-FFL. There is no indication of the processing or wait time under this new procedure, but the fact that a government agency is providing the service doesn’t mean residents get a break on the transfer fee. The MPD charges $125 per handgun, plus the District’s other fees.

Obviously, if D.C. treated gun stores as what they are –legitimate constitutionally-protected businesses that are, moreover, subject to extensive federal oversight and control –there would be no need to encumber local law enforcement or enforce an arduous and expensive process against lawful gun buyers.  

On April 20, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser advised that the current arrangement will stay in place until there is a “viable commercial alternative licensed to operate in D.C.” 

Unless Mr. Sykes resumes his business operations, we predict that’s not likely to be anytime soon. The D.C. government’s extreme hostility to firearms has scarcely abated since it appeared as the (losing) defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment case. As we’ve observed before, it’s easier for District politicians to pretend that lawful gun owners are somehow to blame for the gun violence in D.C. Speaking to residents in 2015, Mayor Bowser made her own feelings clear: “You have a mayor who hates guns. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have any handguns in the District of Columbia. I swear to protect the Constitution and what the courts say, but I will do it in the most restrictive way as possible.”

TRENDING NOW
Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

News  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Anti-gun Politicians Seek to Tax Your Second Amendment Rights Into Oblivion

In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court famously wrote:  “the power to tax involves the power to destroy ….”

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Gun Control May be Wasting Away, But Not Because of COVID

A recent article on a gun control news site laments that the COVID-19 pandemic has thwarted ballot initiatives to expand gun bans and restrictions. Initiatives in Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio and Oregon have stalled, allegedly due to the ...

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

News  

Monday, September 21, 2020

Joe Biden Told Voters the Second Amendment DOES NOT Protect an Individual Right

During a September 2019 “townhall” hosted by New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made clear that he does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms and ...

NRA Victory in Washington

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

NRA Victory in Washington

It’s rare that gun owners have something to celebrate in the Emerald City. But on Monday, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an NRA suit on behalf of Seattle gun owners. 

Anti-Gun Organization Prepared to Launch National Group of Gun Owners Who Apparently Don’t Like Guns

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Anti-Gun Organization Prepared to Launch National Group of Gun Owners Who Apparently Don’t Like Guns

Yes, that title doesn’t make much sense, but neither does a group that promotes banning firearms starting a national organization called Gun Owners for Safety. Nonetheless, The Hill recently reported that the anti-gun group Giffords is doing just ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Law Professors Make Case for Second Amendment Rights in Uncertain Times

News  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Law Professors Make Case for Second Amendment Rights in Uncertain Times

Americans have made clear that they value their Second Amendment rights, especially during uncertain times. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and then widespread civil unrest, Americans have bought firearms in record numbers. Through September, the FBI ...

Gun Controllers Try to Hide Joe Biden’s Anti-gun Extremism

News  

Monday, September 14, 2020

Gun Controllers Try to Hide Joe Biden’s Anti-gun Extremism

With Fall 2020 upon us it is time again for gun control advocates’ quadrennial tradition – dishonestly attempting to convince voters that a brazenly anti-gun presidential ticket does not pose a threat to gun owners. ...

2020 Democratic Party Platform Declares Total War on Second Amendment Rights

News  

Monday, August 3, 2020

2020 Democratic Party Platform Declares Total War on Second Amendment Rights

The national Democratic Party is no longer making any attempt to hide their antipathy towards guns and gun owners. Where once the party attempted to tailor their anti-gun messaging to appear moderate and appeal to ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.