“A controversial gun ban in the District has been dead for almost three years now,” nbcwashington.com reports. They are, of course, referring to the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, striking down the District’s handgun ban. [Dick Heller above.] “But once again, residents who want to carry are facing a hurdle. The only man approved to register guns in D.C. is temporarily out of business.” According to D.C. Council Member At-Large Phil Mendelson, “There’s one federal firearms licensed dealer in the District. And in order to purchase a handgun, if you live in the District, you have to [register the gun] through [a D.C.-based] federal firearms dealer. If he is out of business because his lease ended, then one cannot purchase a handgun.” And why, pray tell, is the temporarily location-less Charles Sykes The Man?

“There has not been a huge demand. It’s not the kind of demand that we thought,” Mendelson says. “Therefore there isn’t the market, which is why there is one dealer.”

And why is there no demand? Because of decades of gun control. As the old expression goes, culture eats strategy for lunch. Although the Heller decision was an enormous strategic victory for gun rights groups, the proverbial soil is barren.

The people who really need firearms—law-abiding citizens living in crime-ridden parts of the nation’s capitol—don’t know Heller from Helsinki. If the NRA or anyone else wants to protect gun rights in D.C., they must actively reach out to these potential owners. As I’ve said before, every gun owner helps protect our right to keep and bear arms.

How bad can it get? I was shooting at the American Firearms School the other day. I asked two fellow Rhode Islanders why they didn’t have carry permits. Why they didn’t even apply for permits.

“You can’t get a permit in Rhode Island,” they told me. I showed them mine and told them get thee to a gunnery.

To quote Jimmy Cliff, you can get it if you really want. But you must try. Try and try. Try and try. For all of our sakes.

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20 Responses to MIssion Impossible: Buying a Legal Handgun in D.C.

  1. There is only one FFL in the District because the District has only permitted one FFL. He’s presently seeking larger quarters, according to him. Who knows? Under Federal law, residents of DC cannot go to Virginia or Maryland to purchase handguns that they would like to bring into the District. So residents of DC are effectively sandbagged. But never fear. There is a thriving “informal” trade in handguns, right alongside the informal trade in pharmaceuticals that takes place every day and night on the streets and in the alleys of our nation’s capital. That’s the free market economy for ya’. It is a bitch.

  2. I have permits from Utah(5 weeks), Florida(6 weeks), Virginia(4 weeks) and New Hampshire(I applied to NH on 4-18 and it was issued on 4-24) . I’m waiting for my permit from Maine to arrive, and I’m sending out my Arizona and CT apps out this week. You don’t need a permit in Arizona, but their willing to give me one so I’ll take it. I haven’t applied for my Rhode Island permit because if I were to get rejected, I would have to tell every state that I apply to that I was rejected in my home state (which would not look good). I’m still in the process of obtaining permits from every state that will give me a non resident permit without having my home state permit. Most of the states are easy and will issue by mail, but I have to travel to Texas, Nevada, Minn. Wash. and a couple of other states that I can’t remember at this moment in order to get my non resident permits. Once I have a permit from everyone of these permit friendly states then I will apply for my Rhode Island permit. Then I can apply for the Mass., PA and a few other states that require me to have a home state permit before they will issue me a non resident permit. When I’m finally done with this jumping thru hoops process(you may have already guessed that I either have OCD or nothing better to do with my time or both), I’ll have permits to legally carry in 40 out of 50 states. I’m counting on the NRA to hopefully force the 10 states that ignore the Second Amendment to give in before I die.

    • OCD or not I, for one, salute you.

      Aside: I investigated a (justifiable, as ultimately certified by grand jury) homicide in Rhode Island once, which included a risk analysis of local government and the judiciary. It’s such a physically beautiful state, as well as a residential storehouse of great wealth, despoiled by a legacy of vile corruption and organized crime.

      Here’s to the future of RI.

      • “Here’s to the future of RI.”

        I lived in RI for fifteen years or so and loved it, but it has no future. The culture of corruption is so strong, the people can’t function any other way.

    • Joe:

      If you’re headed to the Pacific NW to round out your permit collection, give me a call ahead of time so we can meet up and set off a few rounds!

    • Maybe some of those other states should take after WI after all. Even non-residents can open carry anything they want without a permit and without hoop jumping or capacity limits or anything else.

  3. Market demand isn’t the problem – it’s the District’s zoning, which puts almost everywhere off-limits to FFLs.

    See here for more detail, including a map showing allowed areas for FFLs.

  4. As a DC resident, I can tell you that there is no market for handguns not because of “decades of gun control,” but rather because there is generally no interest (among people who would purchase a firearm legally) in possessing a firearm. Generally, the perception amongst these aforementioned residents is that anyone who owns a firearm is generally a criminal or a right-wing nut with paranoid delusions of impending violence at any moment.

    The author suggests that residents of high-crime neighborhoods should be interested in possessing guns so that they can protect themselves. Again, I can tell you that these residents are generally 20-something graduate students or low-level professionals and have absolutely zero interest in owning a gun and shooting back. This isn’t because of gun control but rather because of the aforementioned cultural disinterest in owning a gun. These people generally aren’t targets of gang crime, but can find themselves caught in the crossfire. A friend of mine recently had a stray bullet enter her home through a weak spot in an exterior wall when some kids shot at each other outside. I can tell you that her (or her live-in boyfriend’s) mentality was not “we should have guns too so we can shoot back” but rather “what the hell is wrong with these people shooting each other??”

    • They have zero interest because they’ve been acculturated to non-gun ownership. Or acculturated against gun ownership. As you say. That culture comes from decades of gun control.

      More to the point, your example and reasoning is more than slightly skewed. Guns are not about “shooting back.” In the main, they’re a form of deterrence. Or proactive deterrence. Shooting before you get shot. While TTAG’s AI may think in terms of gunfighting proper, I highly doubt that’s what goes through the average CCW holder’s mind. ESPECIALLY when contemplating a response to an errant round.

    • “The author suggests that residents of high-crime neighborhoods should be interested in possessing guns so that they can protect themselves. Again, I can tell you that these residents are generally 20-something graduate students or low-level professionals and have absolutely zero interest in owning a gun and shooting back.”

      I don’t know if that is racist or just breathtakingly self centered. The residents of DC who live in high crime areas are overwhelmingly lower income African-Americans.

        • Not sure if you read my post. He said that the residents in DC that live in high crime areas are “generally 20-something graduate students or low-level professionals” and that is so far from the truth it’s preposterous. If he meant that black people don’t count, then it is racist; if he meant that people who are not in their 20s and graduate students or low-level professionals then it is merely self-centered.

  5. I guess these residents would rather be good lil sheep and die without even trying to save their sorry ass or maybe their waiting for the cops to save the day.

    • DC has one FFL. There are no gun shops, gunsmiths, or gun ranges (except the police and federal agency ranges) in the District. Even the pawnshops don’t have guns. Unless you count the Southeast quadrant, which is a free fire zone for bangers and drug dealers.

      • Unless you count the Southeast quadrant, which is a free fire zone for bangers and drug dealers.

        Yes, there’s always that, isn’t there? 🙂

  6. I suppose my post was racist and for that I apologize. I meant it to be more self-centered but that too was wrong. But first I would posit that the pervasive anti gun culture is what gave rise to gun control, not vice versa.

    Regarding the availability of legal handguns what I meant to say is that among the non-gangbang population, there is no interest in having a gun, whether for shooting back or shooting first. I would also assert that as a cosmopolitan culture, people feel as though thy have more important this to spend money on than guns. And, yes, they do figure that the police will protect them. I don’t want to sound racist but the city is so segregated that it is difficult to talk about different parts of the city without generalizing.

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