Locked and Loaded? Depends Who You Ask

Getting a gun - legally - in the District requires commitment

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    To hear gun control advocates tell it, some trigger-happy members of Congress won’t be satisfied until D.C. residents can step into a corner carry-out and walk out with a fully loaded assault weapon (bring your own carry-all or pay the five cent bag tax).

    The right-to-bear-arms crowd tells an entirely different story -- of being handcuffed by a long list of restraints and rules that are clearly meant to discourage all but the most determined gun owners.

    D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton cops to the charge without apology. “To get them you have to go through a bureaucracy that makes it difficult," she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Her constituents tend to oppose firearms because of gun violence, she said. "Nobody thinks we would have fewer shootings and fewer homicides if we had more relaxed gun laws."

    When the Supreme Court overturned the city’s 32-year ban on handguns in 2008, the D.C. Council was forced to craft new rules to permit residents to buy and store guns.

    The Journal took a close look at what it takes to be a legal gun owner in the District:

    • 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 shooting facility. 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.

    Norton, meanwhile, has released her detailed list of the provisions of the Tester-McCain-Childers proposed gun bills.  Read them by clicking here.