Paging John Lott. John Lott. Will gun stat cruncher John Lott please report to The Truth About Guns to provide an exclusive quote to fact-slap non-voting D.C. rep Eleanor Holmes Norton. Apparently, Ms. Norton hasn’t heard of Mr. Lott or his death-by-numbers magnum opus More Guns, Less Crime. Otherwise, she would know that when the firearms-oriented academician sings “Take that back, Or I will attack. And you don’t want that,” he’s got the power. Anyway, The Wall Street Journal quote highlights the fact that bureaucrats are still dedicated to making it as difficult as possible to buy a weapon legally in the District of Colombia—despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision struck down Washington’s handgun ban. And this is news? The only real surprise here: the Journal trots out a .22 rifle buyer to prove their point. Oh wait, lawsuit launching biathlete Mark Snyder is the new poster boy for unfettered access to firearms in the nation’s capital. Well, one of the poster boys for the NRA legal action. The one the Journal chose because . . . he’s non-threatening. Anyway, here are those hurdles that need jumping:
Under the [new, post Heller decision] law, would-be gun owners must go through a process requiring fingerprints, photographs and the detailing of some job history.
Applicants have to take a 20-question test on the District’s gun laws and regulations. There is a five-hour class, including at least one hour at a gun range, although the city doesn’t have a public one. Buyers are required to find trainers from a list approved by police. There is a vision exam, and once the process is complete, the gun must be taken back to the police to be fired for a ballistic identification.
The registration expires after three years and must be renewed. If it lapses, the police can seize the gun, and for a first offense, the owner could be jailed for up to one year and fined $1,000.
The law designates certain guns as assault weapons that can’t be bought in the city. It limits the size of the ammunition-feeding devices to no more than 10 bullets. Many common semi-automatic pistols can hold more than that.
In 2011, the city will require semi-automatic pistols owned in the city to be produced with devices that imprint shell casings with a code or serial number as part of the firing process. That would make it easier to link shell casings to guns. The technology, known as micro-stamping or micro-engraving, is in its infancy, and most manufacturers haven’t yet adopted it.
Sounds like the dictionary definition of onerous to me. But you don’t know the half of it. Unless you read the article. If not, here’s the other half.
Even without the new law, Washington, D.C., presents obstacles to the would-be gun buyer. There are no gun stores in the city. It has few federally licensed firearms dealers—businesses that can transfer a handgun into the city that was bought elsewhere.
The city changed its zoning laws in 2009 to permit gun stores, but no business has tried to open one, according to the Attorney General’s office. Only one federally licensed firearms dealer, C.S. Exchange, is performing transfers to the public. Under the law, handguns bought outside the city must be transferred through a licensed gun dealer in the city.
Charles Sykes, owner of C.S. Exchange, conducts business by appointment only. He estimates fees for registration, testing, fingerprinting and transfers can double the cost of a gun. He doesn’t think demand would support a fully operational gun store. These days, he can go weeks without making a transfer. “At first you had a rush of people going down to police headquarters to pick up information” on buying guns after the 2008 court decision, he said. “But they didn’t rush to get firearms.”
The battle over Second Amendment rights and de facto prohibitions continues. Why wouldn’t it? As NRA Prez Wayne LaPierre put it . . .
Can you go out and buy guns in D.C. and defend yourself as the Supreme Court said you should be able to? No. The citizens can’t experience the freedom from a practical level. What good is winning it philosophically?”