Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (Carlos Barria/Pool via AP)
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By Larry Keane

The nation’s attention was drawn to Washington, D.C., last weekend and not because of politics. Criminals exchanged gunfire right outside Nationals Park, the Major League Baseball stadium in the nation’s capital. Videos showed fans scrambling for the exits in fear and surveillance cameras captured the incident. Police are working leads to bring the perpetrators to justice, including two suspects who were among the three people injured.

It was just one of several recent acts of criminal violence in the District, including the shooting death of a 6-year-old and gunfire outside of a well-known high-end restaurant. The proximity of the stadium, though, to media elites who attended the game brought increased attention.

During a time of heightened criminal violence and a mayor and city council who support defunding the police, one thing remains crystal clear. Criminals ignore and break laws, despite Washington, D.C., having among the nation’s strictest gun control policies. Law-abiding D.C. residents are limited when it comes to options to exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves.

Squeezing Gun Rights

For decades, law-abiding Washingtonians seeking to purchase a firearm were required to navigate a labyrinth of paperwork, complete permit registration documentation, pay exorbitant fees, register firearms and abide by purchasing limits per month. On top of that, there was only one location where a firearm could be transferred. Because that licensee was not a commercial firearm retailer that doesn’t actually sell guns, it only processed firearm transfers from outside jurisdictions. This forced Washingtonians to pay an additional $125 firearm transfer fee.

In an ironic twist of fate, the owner of that FFL called it quits in 2020, right at the point of rising crime during the coronavirus pandemic, because there was too much business coming through his door that he couldn’t keep up.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who supported funding cuts to law enforcement and who never met a gun control policy she didn’t love, scrambled and announced the Metropolitan Police Department would take over the transfer duties.

In January 2021, two FFLs were granted their licenses in Washington, D.C. Both only transfer firearms and don’t sell firearms in the District.

Failed Gun Control Legacy

Washington, D.C., was at the center of one of the most consequential U.S. Supreme Court gun rights cases. The 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller challenged the District’s strict gun laws and in a landmark 5-4 decision, the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the Second Amendment is, in fact, an individual right, independent of service in a state militia and protects the use of firearms for lawful purposes, including self-defense. The decision nullified D.C.’s existing handgun ban and law that firearms remain unloaded, disassembled and equipped with a trigger lock when in the home.

dick heller DC v heller scotus decision
Dick Heller signs an autograph outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, June 26, 2008, after the court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense, the justices’ first major pronouncement on gun control in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Restrictive gun laws are still in effect in Washington, D.C. Along with registration requirements, District gun owners are subject to universal background checks, must obtain a firearm license, can only possess ammunition for the firearm which has been registered with the Metro Police Department, must abide by magazine capacity restrictions, must endure waiting period for firearms to be transferred and still face an outright ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs).

Last year, Mayor Bowser signed a law banning home-built firearms, adding to the restrictions law-abiding gun owners must navigate and that criminals continue to ignore.

Meanwhile, carjackings in Washington, D.C., jumped 74 percent and police are deploying “bait cars.” This was revealed after two teen girls had charges dropped and one was sentenced for a fatal carjacking.  A fourth suspect is still at large. The District has a no bail, no bonds policy where 90 percent of those arrested are turned out on the streets before trial.

Even more frustrating is that the police unions are calling out to be allowed to do their jobs and are instead being hamstrung. The Washington, D.C., police union tweeted after the criminal violence outside of Nats Park, “It is a tragedy that elected officials won’t let us do our jobs.”

Washington, D.C., and other gun control jurisdictions like it, continue to impose restrictions on lawful gun ownership and ignore the real and rampant criminal activity plaguing their cities. With laws that are tough on law-abiding gun owners and soft on criminals, Washington, D.C., officials are telling residents they’re expected to be willing victims.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.



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  1. D.C. and cities like it ignore criminal activity because the criminals are of a particular demographic. The Left doesn’t want to upset one of their core constituencies.

    • I always thought acquiring an FFL meant you were supposed to “engage in the business” of buying and selling…at least that’s what they told us…apparently the criteria has changed….

  2. Over and over, the same old thing. Why is this so hard? If there are no legal guns, there can be no illegal guns (PC translation…if there are no people allowed to legally own guns, there can be no guns for prohibited persons to obtain guns. Eventually, guns in the hands of prohibited persons (i.e. gangs and criminals) will wear out, and, if there are no more guns being made/sold, the criminal element will have to rely on passing threatening notes to intended victims.

    Why is this so hard to grasp? No guns, no gun crime. No knives, no knife crime. No hands, no hand crimes. And so on. It is really that simple.

    • “will wear out”?????….I still have my grandpappy’s shotgun….and now I’m a grandfather….

      • “will wear out”?????….I still have my grandpappy’s shotgun….and now I’m a grandfather….,.”


        Someday it will wear out, or rust, or rot, or dry out, or get broken, or something. Or you will get so old you will forget where you put it, and it will remain lost. Of course, I am speaking of people most likely to possess stolen or illegally acquired firearms. Which I presume you are not admitting to being.

        Criminals are not good at maintaining their guns, and are careless so as to lose them often. Which is why there is so much trafficking in illegal guns; replacement rate is high.

        This is America. We send warehouse managers into space. C’mon, man, you gotta believe.

        • “Criminals are not good at maintaining their guns,…”

          And that’s why God created Gaston Glock.

          No rust, no muss, “takes a licking, keeps on ticking”. So good even the police use them… 😉

    • if you have no weapon of any kind – I own you. I am a martial artist and power lifter… without some means of defending yourself… I literally own you and everything about you …. ponder that for a minute…..I own you, your family and anything I want… you simply cannot stop me from doing/taking anything I want to you and yours… the police won’t or won’t in time help you… what exactly do you think you might do to stop me…? there is nothing you could do to stop me… nothing…….With out a means to defend yourself… I OWN you…..

      • “With out a means to defend yourself… I OWN you…..”

        Irony, mockery, ridicule and sarcasm doesn’t work with some people. You missed the gag.

  3. How many think “Sha Nana” when they hear “Bowser”?!? She’s giving Groot/Beetlejuice a run for its money. Seriously who is surprised???

  4. When the solution is more and more of an agenda that is rooted in racism and genocide what do you expect? Flowers growing out of the behinds of criminals?

    Criminals full of demoCrap are too stupid to have any Content of Character. Those running the show are clearly using stupid criminals as pawns to get more Gun Control that only effects law abiding defenseless citizens who make up the victim list.

    Until knee jerk congressmen cease putting The Second Amendment on the table every time there is a criminal act that makes the news this Gun Control sht continues. It is time for those in high office to stop allowing Gun Control Perverts to have their way with The Second Amendment. Molestation is Molestation whether it be your children or your Rights.

  5. I’ll never understand why idiots panic like a bunch of brainless sheep because there were maybe a couple shots fired OUTSIDE the building you’re in? Then you stampede to get out? People are fools.

    • In the military, our security planning / training considered the possibility of a complex attack, with a shooter creating a kill zone at the muster location by phoning in a fire alarm or bomb threat first. In fairness, managing the relative probabilities and severities of those separate threats is a somewhat complex problem.

      It never occurred to me that anyone would be stupid enough to have an SOP for the active-shooter threat itself that hands the shooter the optimum target-rich environment.

  6. Washington, DC: Proof that government of the criminals, by the criminals, for the criminals shall not perish from the Earth.

    • DC has a large black population…and like most locales with a similar population…an attendant crime problem…the two seem to go together…

  7. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why DC’s gun laws do not work. It is because without a Federal law that would make it mandatory to vet all gun purchases states with lax gun laws funnel in thousands of guns into cities and states with tough laws. Police tracings prove it beyond all doubt.

    There was also two studies done on Chicago that found out much the same thing. The average gun used in crime in Chicago was 13 years old and had been through many hands and no they were not stolen for the most part, just second hand guns that found their way into the hands of lunatics and criminals who bypassed Chicago’s laws and the Federal Brady Bill because person to person sales of used guns in many states are legal and then the gun runners eventually get hold of them at gun shows, bars, flee markets and person to person sales found in news paper ads and even on chat rooms on the internet and then the second hand guns were run to big cities with tough laws or states like New York with tough laws making a total joke out of state and local gun laws.

    In conclusion no civilized industrialized nation on earth permits such lunacy and mayhem and mass murder as it only happens in Capitalvania where life is considered cheap.

    Again none of this is unknown to law enforcement and none of this is rocket science either in regards to what changes need to be made in regards to new more efficient gun laws.

    • SA-Mann dacian. Your fantasy fails to account for one fact. Why are the states with lax gun laws not experiencing the levels of violence as places such as chicago, dc, etc?

      There is a common factor in the areas that have a lot of violent crime which you ignore. More so than guns that factor is locales run by the democrat party.

      If we had a federal law banning the democrats it would be all good.

      Then we would be just like all those ‘civilized’ countries.

      • Your simple minded explanation is laughable. Big cities have millions of people while rural counties have few.

        Big cities have high unemployment rates as well. If the stingy cheap ass Republicans would quite refusing to fund job retraining it alone would do much to lower crime rates. When people have high paying union jobs its a proven fact the crime rate decreases. I remember in the 60’s that when I walked down the streets of New York, Chicago and Cleveland and thought nothing of it. Today long after the great Satan Reagan destroyed the Unions and started shipping high union paying jobs overseas we ended up with as many as 4 generations of people who never had a decent paying job. Of course crime then soared.

        This did not happen is civilized well run countries like Germany. German industry along with German Government subsidized training programs produced so many jobs that Germany actually had to import thousands of Turkish immigrants in the 1970’s to fill those jobs and yes they got plenty of German Socialistic paid for training.

        Germany today is one of the richest and safest countries on earth and its not hard to understand why either. German training for even a fishing license or gun license would shock the average American uneducated Hillbilly. Most would not even be able to pass their tests for a fishing license or gun license. German gun laws are tough also. You must keep your gun locked up in a safe, you must pass rigid training for safe gun handling as well as understanding the gun laws and or fishing laws as well. No excuses. Pass the tests or hit the road and do not come back and that is as it should be.

        And to respond to your crack about Democrats if we banned Republicans we would have paid for health care, paid for higher education, affordable drugs, and safer streets because of tough as nails gun laws and the training that would go with getting a license to own a gun.

        Sorry Jethro W. M. try again you failed.

        • Why do you feel you need to lie, SA-Mann dacian? If your arguments were valid you would not need to lie.

          You never walked down the streets of NYC in the 60’s. You weren’t even born then.

          All we can say with any degree of certainty is that if an area is governed by the democrats then that area is crime infested and a poor place to live.

        • “I remember in the 60’s that when I walked down the streets of New York . . . and thought nothing of it.”

          From the late 40s to the mid 80s, I lived in NYC. In the 60s, violent crime doubled, along with an unhealthy dose of urban unrest and arson. if you walked down the streets of NYC and thought nothing of it, then you were and remain a clown.

        • Dacian, if you walked those streets in the 60s, you would have to be at least in your 60s. But your writing style is too “young” for someone of that age.

          Are you aware Chicago has been Democrat ruled not only for decades but generations? 18 of the top 20 most violent US cities are Democrat strongholds.

        • You do realize that Dacian and Miner49er are either paid to be trolls or are mentally ill. My thinking is heavily on the second one, both likely have diagnosed mental illness and yet people engage with them on here.

          Both rely on strawman arguments and sealioning to accomplish their “goals”.
          They are either paid to keep a topic going or are pretty much the people that never left their parents home. If they are on disability because of their mental illness then the average taxpayer like most of the people on this website pays for their internet, food and housing.
          IGNORE THEM

    • most guns used in criminal acts enter the streets through straw purchasing in one form or another…not gun shows, internet sales etc….that’s largely a falsehood served up to push an agenda

  8. Unfortunately you can’t fix power hungry stupid. Their ultimate goal is outlaw all guns and means for self defense. Then they will get all the thugs to be their enforcers when they take over. The only problem with their plan is the thugs will be the ones in charge.

    If we can find a way to take back the elections and make them fair again we MAY have a chance to get them out of office. That is my little trip into fantasy land.

  9. In 1976, when D.C averaged one murder per night, the city Council passed a gun law that banned all handguns and made a mandatory registration of all long guns. If I remember correctly it cost $60 per year to register your long guns and you hand to re-register them every year. You could keep your handgun if you registered it but, if you missed the renewal period you could not re-register your gun and it was then illegal. It was also unlawful to have your shotguns “assembled” and loaded in your house. My father told me the last Gun shop in D.C. Closed in 1971 and was located on Georgia Ave just inside D.C. from Silver Spring MD. Fast forward to the 1980’s and we had 3 murders a night and had the highest per capita murder rate in the USA. My dad had several hunting rifles and shotguns but had to keep them out of sight and literally smuggle them in & out of our house. Finally we stored them at my grandparent’s house in MD. Just having a Savage 99 or a Remington 870 bird gun would be a felony! When I was a teenager we kept a loaded black powder Remington 1858 Old army percussion revolver in the house for self defense. Even after the Heller decision D.C. residents couldn’t buy a gun as there are no FFL retailers in D.C. Plus, DC then banned mags over 10rds and semi auto paramilitary style rifles/shotguns. They added unconstitutional fees, training requirements, unreasonable waiting periords and red-tape! All the gun laws just punish law abiding citizens and no gangbanger in Anacostia gives a sh!t. Why can’t dems & libs see the FACT that all the places with the strictest gun control laws like Chicago, NYC, DC, & California for decades have had the highest violent crime rates in the nation. After 18 1/2 years as a D.C resident (w/ 3 home burglaries and 2 stolen cars) I moved 2k miles away and now enjoy my right to own ANY firearm as my current state is Class 3 friendly.

    • keeping a class 3 weapon for home protection might strike many as overkill…but maybe not so much these days…

    • “Even after the Heller decision D.C. residents couldn’t buy a gun as there are no FFL retailers in D.C.”


      There was one FFL located in the police department building, open by appointment only for transfers.

      (Source, “Amy gets her gun” the ‘Washington Times’.)

      They made it very difficult, but not impossible…

      • Yes but they DON’T SELL GUNS. The DC Metro Police Dept has a FFL and they don’t sell guns. They just do transfers. The one person who tried to open a shop after Heller just gave up due the cost and bureaucratic BS. Just because a business or gov’t entity has a FFL doesn’t make them a retail gun store. The old NRA headquarters on Rhode Island ave in DC had a FFL and a range in the basement. They didn’t sell guns. Case in point. Hell my Highschool on Military Road in DC had a indoor 50ft small bore rifle range in the basement of the gym, a couple of dozen Remington 513T’s and about 1200 1903 Springfield drill rifles for ROTC. They had a FFL and didn’t sell guns. Next time you’re in DC, Not northern VA or suburban MD good luck finding a gun shop. I’ll enjoy my freedom here in MT

  10. When the tribal savages select their witchdoktor. CONGRESS is supposed to run the place.

  11. @”Geoff “A day without a demented troll is like a day of warm sunshine” PR

    GLOCKs are made of plastic. Bad guys leave them out in the sun. The plastic will melt, and another stolen gun is required. Soon, the plastic fantastics will disappear from the underground railroad. Just takes a little time. Then the steel guns will be scooped up by gigantic magnets suspended from cranes. And more replacements will be needed. Then something else will go wrong. Rinse and repeat. Easy peasy.

  12. I listen to WMAL in the morning 9-12 EST out of DC every day. The commenter of this radio show, Chris Plante, is the best at breaking down the corruption of the Left and isn’t afraid to use an abundance of pejorative words and acrimony to describe them. The young lady who does the local news raises her voice when speaking the Mayors name and calls her BOWzer. Try streaming it. You’ll get hooked.

  13. The Dementiacrats have been complain about crime, but do nothing substantial to combat it. Always punish the law abiding and allow the criminals to run rampant. Then use the rising crime rates to justify even more restrictions on the law abiding.
    Seems the same cities with the highest crime rates, poorest schools, worst job market, and most drug related issues are and have been Dementiacrat havens for decades.
    Unions priced themselves out of work. Schools became warehouses/daycare/indoctrination centers. Police are ever more restricted on who, how and when they can arrest. Courts and prosecutors are ever less willing to actually lock up or even convict criminals.
    But, it’s the fault of the hardware, or the Republicans, or white supremacist’s, or any and everyone else.

  14. Every study I’ve had access to, supports “Stolen Firearms” as a major contributing factor, in Crimes Committed with Firearms.

    An old LEO once told me years ago, the best thing would be to fence in the high crime areas, let them kill each other, and then shoot the survivors because they’re really the root cause. As time’s past, I can’t help believe he had a point.

    • Unfortunately the poor people forced to live in those areas because they cannot escape, will be killed as well. Universal Constitutional Carry will allow them to be armed, thus making them less likely victims!

  15. The only thing strict gun control laws accomplish is making crime safer for the criminals! High crime areas will be transformed to safe areas by universal Constitutional Carry Laws. An armed society IS a polite society!

  16. “High crime areas will be transformed to safe areas by universal Constitutional Carry Laws.”

    Not to create controversy, but….

    High crime areas will be transformed by re-imagining the areas.

  17. Shots fired OUTSIDE the stadium.
    People inside the stadium: “Hey, let’s freak out and go OUTSIDE the stadium”.

    Terrific. Brilliant plan.

    BTW, I get better footage on my fucking TV, and I can defend myself too.

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