This article in the Washington Post has a lot of handwringing about the risks of owning guns, this is the key section
It took $833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam.
Oh, and the votes of five Supreme Court justices. They're the ones who really made it possible for me, as a District resident, to own a handgun, a constitutional right as heavily debated and rigorously parsed as the freedoms of speech and religion.
Just more than a year ago, by a 5-to-4 decision, the court struck down the District's three-decades-old outright ban on handguns -- the most restrictive gun law in the country. In District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual to bear arms, not just Americans in a "well regulated Militia"; the District's prohibition was therefore unconstitutional.
Reluctantly, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration set up a process through which about 550 residents -- now including yours truly -- have acquired a handgun. But as my four trips to the police department attest, D.C. officials haven't made it easy.
Which was exactly their intent. The day the Heller decision was announced, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) vowed that the city was still "going to have the strictest handgun laws the Constitution allows." Fenty decried the ruling, saying that "more handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence." . . .
It may be legal to own a gun in the District, but you still can't buy one within the city limits. At least not in a gun store because there are none. Instead, you must make the purchase in one of the 50 states and have the weapon transferred into the custody of one man: Charles Sykes, who plays an odd role in the transaction.
As a licensed firearms dealer, he could, theoretically, sell guns. But he chooses not to because "I don't want to have to carry an inventory," he says. "Too much liability." Instead, he's the middleman, the only licensed dealer willing to help D.C. residents acquire handguns, a nice little side business for which he charges $125. . . .
Labels: DC, GunControl, SecondAmendment