Remember the Heller decision? DC’s handgun prohibition was blown to hell. So to speak. It was a great victory for gun rights. Right? Well, not so much. There’s still a de facto handgun ban in the nation’s capital. The District has strict transfer regulations for handguns that it doesn’t have for rifles and shotguns. Which is fine, except DC’s only transfer agent lost his lease and now can’t find a new location that’s in compliance with local zoning laws. And that’s just the way most DC politicians like it . . .

Charles Sykes was the District’s only FFL. His only business was processing firearms transfers (at a cool $125 a pop). There is no gun dealer in DC. That means residents have to buy their handguns somewhere else and have them shipped into DC for the transfer process.

Except there’s no one to do that any more. Since losing his lease in April, Sykes hasn’t been able to find space for his business that’s in compliance with local zoning laws. Zoning rules require all gun-related businesses be at least 300 feet away from schools, libraries or certain other landmarks. Sound familiar?

Alan Gura, the attorney who won the Heller decision before the Supreme Court, isn’t amused. He’s filed a lawsuit on behalf of three DC residents against the city over the de facto handgun prohibition.

Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) is offering a fix. He informed his colleagues Thursday that he intends to offer an emergency bill that would allow the District to serve as a firearms dealer for the purpose of transferring guns to residents.

Mendelson says he doesn’t want to supplant the free market. He just wants to make sure residents can legally transfer handguns in the District.

But is adding to the city’s already crushing bureaucracy the best way to do that? Why not pass an ordinance allowing DC residents to own handguns lawfully purchased in any other state? Then the city wouldn’t have to hire more people to process transfers and residents wouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees to FFLs.

Oh. Wait. Never mind.

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6 Responses to Is Washington D.C. Entering the Firearms Business?

  1. DZ said: “Then the city wouldn’t have to hire more people to process transfers and residents wouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees to FFLs.
    Oh. Wait. Never mind.”

    Exactly. The DC government is in the running for most disfunctional, ineffective, corrupt, overstaffed and underworked city/state government in this country. It would fit in well in Zimbabwe. NY City’s school system bureaucracy is a picnic compared to DC’s government.

    I am sure Councilperson Mendelson would love to have even more patronage jobs to give away and the New! Improved! Even Crookeder Than Before! Mayor would be quite happy to have complete control of the gun trade.

  2. An easier fix would be just to amend current law to allow residents to purchase across state lines. Better for DC. Better for the rest of us. And besides, there’s already a suit in progress to accomplish the same thing.

      • Exactly what is being tested in Federal court (U.S. District Court in Virginia). DC being a federal territory is somewhat different (and special being a direct line to SCOTUS), but may find some relief once the case in Viginia is resolved.

        BTW – I see no reason why any pistol I buy out of state must be sent to an FFL within my own state ‘first’ before going through the dros. If the law requires, I can register it in CA when I get home (same as cars). Of course , I also see no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun online, have the NCIS done remotely, and wait for my package to arrive on my doorstep (like CMP).

        We need Congress to work on streamlining a number of things; this is one of them.

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