D.C. Gun Dealer Could Operate Out of Police Headquarters

D.C. hopes to dodge a legal bullet by allowing its only licensed gun dealer to operate out of police headquarters.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city’s handgun ban in 2008, residents have been allowed to buy guns in other jurisdictions to keep in their D.C. homes, but it’s against the law for them to bring guns in themselves. They must transfer the guns to the District through a licensed gun dealer. That’s Charles Sykes, and his shop’s been closed for several months because he lost his lease.

With no dealer operating in town, D.C. was in legal trouble again. Three residents sued, saying their right to bear arms was being violated again.

Emergency legislation that would have allowed the city to operate as a gun dealer temporarily was pulled last week, but the city may have a new solution. The city will permit Sykes to use space at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, Mayor Vincent Gray said Wednesday. He'll be allowed to set up shop in the tight security offices where guns are registered.

"It seemed to make sense to us to locate close to MPD's firearms registration office at police headquarters on Indiana Avenue, where anyone purchasing a firearm must come anyway to register their guns," Gray said.

It won't be set up like a retailer, officials said.

"There won't be any exchange like a regular commercial establishment where you go in and purchase," Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Paul Quander said.

The buyer will be able to register the gun right where it is picked up.

Sykes has yet to agree to the new location.

Only about 1,200 people have sought to keep guns in their homes legally since the Supreme Court ruling.

"I'm not sure what the demand should be," Gray said. "For me, one is too many, but that's my own personal view on this."

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