Who Should License Guns in D.C.: The City or Wal-Mart?

By Tom Sherwood
|  Wednesday, Jul 20, 2011  |  Updated 2:15 PM EDT
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A D.C. council member and the police chief about gun sales in the District.

Tom Sherwood

A D.C. council member and the police chief about gun sales in the District.

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Next week, the D.C. Council will be asked to consider a proposal that would license the city government itself to transfer out of handguns -- an unusual move by the city to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the city's decades-old handgun ban.

If the city had its way, no handguns would be allowed, but D.C. has to comply with the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the ban violated the Second Amendment.

So the city wrote tough rules on where gun shop may be located, but there are no active dealers, nor is there a federally licensed dealer who can transfer guns from other states – a roadblock that could land the city in violation of the Supreme Court ruling.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, has an unusual idea: On Monday he’ll ask the D.C. Council to approve emergency legislation to let the city act as the federal agent to transfer guns.

On Thursday, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told WTOP radio she thought it would be OK for chain stores like Wal-mart to sell guns in the city.

The District is still facing a legal challenge to its current strict handgun rules.

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