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For several months now, it’s been even harder to purchase a gun in the District than our draconian regulations allow. Make that impossible: The one guy licensed to sell guns in the District, Charles Sykes, lost his lease and is no longer able to operate.
That could be a problem for the District, legally speaking. In May, gun owner Michelle Lane and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a case in U.S. District Court alleging that D.C.’s effective prohibition on registering new guns violates her right to bear arms. Meanwhile, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is ticked off about it too.
Yesterday, Mayor Vince Gray said he wasn’t comfortable having any D.C. government agency handling gun sales, but he might allow them to lease space in government buildings. And tonight, the Zoning Commission will take preliminary action on an emergency zoning change that would allow just that: Firearm sales within a “District law enforcement or licensing agency,” which would mean police stations as well as 300 Indiana Ave. NW, where registrations are currently processed.
There will apparently be a public hearing, but on an accelerated schedule, given that the District may be breaking the law every day that guns sales aren’t possible (and Walmart, which Police Chief Cathy Lanier thinks should be the ones to sell guns, won’t be open for at least another year).
The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice had this as a rationale for the change:
There is an immediate need to preserve the safety and welfare of District residents by providing access to a District owned or controlled location for the operation of a federal firearm licensee, so that the District’s residents will have a reliable means to complete out of state handgun purchases and thereby register handguns for use in self defense within their homes.
Somehow, easier access to handguns doesn’t make me feel more safe.