D.C. Walmart Stores: Save Money, Buy Guns?

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is looking for a solution to the current de facto gun ban in the city, and she hopes Walmart might be part of the answer.

Lanier spoke on WTOP-FM's "Ask the Chief" program Thursday morning, lamenting the fact that D.C.'s only licensed firearms dealer remains closed after going out of business in April.

She suggested that incoming retailer Walmart fill the void but admitted it could be difficult.

"You have Walmart and others that are coming to town," Lanier said. "Are they willing to take that on, and become the licensed firearms dealer in the District? We don't know."

Lanier and other city officials are looking for ways to allow residents to acquire guns in the District in order to avoid more lawsuits against the city.

As the Washington Post reported, city residents have been unable to purchase guns and bring them to their homes since May because the only person licensed to transfer firearms purchased in another state -- Charles Sykes Jr. -- lost his lease and hasn't found a new business location.

In late May, three District residents filed suit in federal court because they said they have purchased guns legally but are unable to transfer them into the city, according to the Post.

While Lanier is pondering Walmart, Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said he intends to push forward an emergency bill Tuesday to allow the District itself to serve as a gun dealer in order to allow residents to acquire them legally in the city.

Walmart resumed sales of ammunition and firearms in about half of its 3,600 U.S. stores in April, after a five-year hiatus. But a Walmart official told WTOP there are currently no plans to sell guns out of its four D.C. stores, slated to open next year.

In her chat with WTOP, Lanier also spoke about hate crimes, breastfeeding officers, and the DC9 death case. Read more here.

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