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Owning guns in DC: the current situation

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by MatthewVanitas, Jan 16, 2010.

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  1. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    A report on the gun-buying/owning process in Washington DC as of 2010. I've been reading the actual current DC policies, available starting here: Metropolitan Police Department - Gun Registration.

    Some highlights, many of which I found surprising, so may surprise many members here:

    • Registration: Registration is mandatory for all firearms in the District. You can currently register pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. The brief and wacky period of "revolvers only" has gone away.

    • Mag capacity: The old "if it can conceivably accept 10+ rounds, it's a machine gun" appears to be gone, replaced by a blanket prohibition on 10+ mags themselves.

    • Costs and Fees: Despite rumours of "hundreds of dollars in fees and psychological screenings", the clearly-labeled fee schedule indicated $48 for long-guns and $60 for handguns, total. EDIT: There's apparently also a mandatory class, which can cost you $150+.

    • Prohibited firearms: They do ban "assault weapons" and "unsafe handguns". Basically the CA DOJ list, with some quirks from MD which apparently help on some things, plus they apparently don't drop guns once they're on, unlike CA's annual requirements. The assault weapon list is pure GW-41 era, keeping us safe from those dastardly AR-70s and Valmet M62s running rampant on our streets. EDIT: C&R handguns are apparently kosher, per the MPD Registration Hotline.

    • Importing: unlike CA you can't import "unsafe" guns, so no moving into DC with your S&W 28. That also prevents CA's "I moved here from NV with my S&W 28... and felt like selling it a year later" loophole. EDIT: I understand that you can only register 1 gun per month, so importing a larger collection may take a while...

    • NFA and .50: All NFA gear, and .50 BMG, are banned. Not ".50 calibres", just .50 BMG, so .50 DTC, .50 FUCA, etc. are presumably kosher. Though honestly it's a little vague about "12.7mm equivalent to .50 BMG". Though there is absolutely no location to shoot a .50 BMG in the district, so if you had one you might as well store it in VA or WV anyway. But the principle bites. Surprisingly, .500 S&W revolvers are specifically listed as permitted.

    • Ammo: you can't own ammo unless you have a DC-registered firearm in that calibre.

    • General kookiness: perusing their detailed rules, there are few oddities. You have to be 21 to register anything, unless you're 18+ and have a signed statement of liability from a guardian. There's also a blurb about how they can deny your permit if you've ever been found negligent in a shooting incident.

    In any case, the general vibe is that, legally, it's better than IL and maybe a few other states, but not quite as "good" as CA except in having a looser "safe list". Clearly, this doesn't exactly make it Montana or Vermont, but considering that it was de facto impossible to have guns in DC just a couple years ago, this is a pretty significant step forward.

    In any case, just wanted to summarise the basic gun situation in DC these days. If there's any sneaky end-runs they're pulling that aren't clear on the site, those would be great to hear. Also, rumours aside, if anyone has personal knowledge of the FFL situation in DC (any dealers, any with <$100 transfers), that'd be cool.

    Hope this clears up a few misapprehensions (which I myself shared), and if nothing else shows that a state/district can indeed "rise" from a Brady Campaign A+ to a B+ through the concerted effort of the gun community and force of the Constitution.

    Moved personal perspective info down here
    I dug around a little about this subject on THR, and it appears there's a ton of misinformation and outdated information on this subject. Plus lots of good, old-fashioned kneejerking.

    I'm reading up on the subject, as I currently live just into VA, literally 10min walk or less from DC, and am considering buying property in DC after I return from a civilian deployment to Afghanistan this year. Before folks weigh in with all the "why on earth...", I'll just note that DC has some affordable "developing" areas, excellent mass-transit that can make my car about needless (keeping my Triumph motorbike though), and easy access to the kind of nightlife and cultural events a 30yr old enjoys.

    I have absolutely zero interest in moving halfway into the middle-of-nowhere VA with 90min commute through horrendous traffic each way, just to get more square footage, a yard for a dog I don't have, and "good schools" for kids I don't have.

    I dunno, if I move up into the City, I figure I'm best to get either a Remington 7615 .223 pump-gun with 10rd AR-15 mags, or else a (shudder) Mini-14 as my main longarm. Then something concealable in a pinch (in case of utter disaster), such a basic 642, or get ritzy and get a 396 .44Spl L-frame. Can't use any of my older S&Ws since they're "unsafe". EDIT: Turns out my CZ 75D is kosher, would go with that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  2. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    Seriously :eek:

    When it's "Not as good as California"......Its Bad....Really BAD.

    Dont forget the gerneral attitude. They only did that because they had to, due to the Heller decision, if they could figure something out worse....they would do it in a second!


    Sounds like you are talking yourself into it!
     
  3. MattTheHat

    MattTheHat Member

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    I guess there aren't many gun collectors living in DC, huh?


    -Matt
     
  4. ol' scratch

    ol' scratch Member

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    Why are your S & W's unsafe? Just curious.
     
  5. Aran

    Aran member

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    Sounds to me like DC can still go to hell.
     
  6. wishin

    wishin Member

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    Why would anybody leave Austin, TX to go to D.C.?
     
  7. jd70

    jd70 Member

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    Better than Illinois? Yeah I have a foid card, but I also have ak's, ar15's and any pistol or revolver i want without any sort of registration on them. You may be thinking of the Chicago nonsence. Most of us down staters would like to cut Chicago loose and let it float to Canada, but I don't think i could do that to Canada.
     
  8. alohachris

    alohachris Member

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    All the regulations that were posted are just malfeasance on the part of D.C.'s government, to me. They are adhering to the letter, but not the intent of the law.

    Oh so we have to allow people to own guns? Fine. Here are 28 pages of law in single spaced, 10 point font you must conform to. Any deviation is a felony. Illegal to own ammo for an 'unregistered caliber'? Lists of 'acceptable' guns? *** is that?

    Besides NRA, who else is fighting this type of entrapment & incrementalism? Are there legal funds to donate directly to?
     
  9. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    As mentioned above, DC declares "unsafe" any gun which isn't on their list, which is pretty much the California DOJ's "list of approved handguns."

    CA basically does a shakedown where companies have to give them X many free guns, which CA DOJ then drops off ladders, pounds on with hammers, etc. to see if they can make them go off. And charges a hefty fee for doing so. Plus every single variant has to qualify separately, even though a .32 S&W J-frame is mechanically identical to a .38 S&W J-frame. DC uses that list, but they're slightly more easygoing about it.

    Jobs. There aren't any in my field in Austin, there are zillions up here which have the most opportunity for advancement and pay the best. Plus I'm looking to spend about as much time working overseas as stateside, but I still have to be based out of the DC-area.

    I can still keep the rest of my guns (including NFA gear) just 20m away down in Virginia, I'd only have to go through the bureaucratic annoyance for one pistol and one rifle.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  10. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    It bothers me that the people that live the closest to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, dont recieve the benifit of them! :cuss:


    The very City they are displayed in!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  11. jnyork

    jnyork Member

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    Thank you, God, for giving me Wyoming as my home!! :rolleyes:
     
  12. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

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    Your in VA, your close to DC. You currently have the best compromise (for your situation)
     
  13. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    "I guess there aren't many gun collectors living in DC, huh?"


    Sure they do! There's guys with whole car trunks full of Glocks. You can find them around 14th and U st after midnight. Good rates.:D
     
  14. LeontheProfessional

    LeontheProfessional Member

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    +1 just stay ten minutes out side of DC unless you really dont care about your rights.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    If you find conditions in the District to be acceptable, by all means move there.

    As for myself, I wouldn't. I don't think you are going to find many members of this forum who would be willing to move to DC either. You didn't mention that one can't get a concealed weapons license, or legally carry in a city that has a massive street crime problem. If you get caught illegally carrying you probably won't be able to own any guns, anywhere.

    If I was in your shoes I'd stay where I was. As it is, If I was in my shoes I'd move to the Southwest as fast as I could get there.
     
  16. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    It's pretty immaterial whether I can get a CCW in DC or not. Though I'm covered in VA, most of my time is spent either in DC, or on Federal property in VA, MD, WV, so I basically can't carry at much any point in my average week, despite currently living in VA.

    Does DC's law bite in principle? Yes. However, in terms of practical effect on my life, whether I live in DC or just across the Key Bridge into VA I can't CCW to/from work, or when I go out most evenings and weekends (unless I specifically plan my weekend to avoid crossing state lines). Literally the primary difference, gun-wise, would be that in DC I'd have one rifle in a locked ready-rack and one pistol in a quick-open safebox, whereas if I lived in VA I'd have that plus a bunch of guns in a safe. If I live in DC I'll still have a safe in VA, it'll just be 30min drive away. A minor annoyance if I want to go shoot my safe guns at a range, and in an emergency I can't use anything more than the DC rifle and pistol anyway, so having a safe-full next to my bed wouldn't keep me any safer than one pistol and one rifle.

    Again, I concur that DC's legal situation is terrible in principle. However, in practicality moving into DC would affect little other than "where do I store all my recreational firearms when not in use, down the hall or 30min away?" All the rest of the taxes/crime/costs/transport/etc. issues of living in DC are outside the scope of THR, but the main thing is that DC has gone from "no guns for you" to "you can have guns provided they're of a certain type and you register them", which is not awesome but certainly a marked improvement.
     
  17. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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  18. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Er, Heller won his case. He wasn't overturned. Overturning Heller would be bad, and would be one of the official "lines in the sand" beyond which All Bets Are Off.

    It's actually interesting to consider the question of exactly what it was the Heller did overturn.

    The most specific and accurate answer is "D.C's 1976 unconstitutional, de-facto gun ban."

    Beyond that, though, is the interesting territory where the rubber meets the road. DC's ban didn't stand on it's own: it was entirely dependent on two things:

    First, an extreme judicial hostility to "standing". It took 30 years to find a guy who had standing to bring the case, and he had to be an honest guy who both could legally possess a gun under limited circumstances (he was a guard), who wanted to register it to bring it home with him after work, who actually *attempted* to register it, and who was *actually* rejected.

    Our courts have said that anything even slightly less than that isn't enough to bring suit, people who aren't one of the few non-police armed guards in DC need not apply.


    The other thing DC's ban was dependent on was 70 or 80 years of truly bizarre rulings at the appellate court level that were in turn dependent on tortured readings of Miller.

    Miller, notably, remains intact.

    What was overturned was the tortured interpretations of it.

    an entire *series* of bizarre rulings and findings
     
  19. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Wrong terminology; shoot me.
     
  20. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    The ONLY benefits I could see in owning property in DC-

    1. Voting on local policies to try to change the system, realizing that my single vote is next to meaningless

    2. The possibility of 'buy low, sell high' if there were good deals to be had.


    Otherwise, I barely like to visit DC, and certainly would NOT own property there, pay taxes there, register ANYTHING there. Reasons:

    1. The Capitol of the free world is about the least free place to live in the country

    2. Costs of everything are astronomical

    3. A true "Police State" in every sense of the world. I recently visited and there were police, cameras, and security buttoned up worse than downtown Baghdad!

    4. High crime rates, no CCW, absurd gun laws etc, etc...

    5. I tried to spend as little money there because I don't like supporting economics that I don't agree with their public policies. I certainly would NOT want to go there on a regular basis, pay taxes, buy gas, groceries, supplies, etc.

    Invest in FREE parts of the country. What's wrong with VA where you live 'in the middle of nowhere?'
     
  21. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Member

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    Funny you should mention, several of the issues raised in that article have already forced DC to modify its policy.

    The current "approved handguns" list specifically states that approval applies to substantively similar models (no nixing because the color or grips are slightly different).

    As I understand it, DC keeps guns on its approved list even if CA DOJ drops it during their annual scrub (and re-shakedown of companies).
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I'm not sure what this thread is supposed to accomplish... :confused:

    The first post seems to say that things aren't as bad in Washington DC as some think, and other factors such as employment opportunities, night life, etc. are good enough to make putting up with conditions relative to gun ownership acceptable. That of coure is a matter of opinion, and so far no one has said, "Great!! I'll move tomorrow." If MatthewVanitas is looking for converts or members who agree with him I think the number is going to be sparse, and so far it's zero.

    Each of us has to decide what is important in life, and make decisions based on that. If he wants to move into the District by all means he should do so. If he's expecting encouragement and support from the rest of us I don't think he's going to get it. While the Heller Decision has made things better, I don't see the "better" as being good enough.

    Others may disagree, but so far they haven't.
     
  23. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Exactly - do you want to own property in a police state that, despite a CLEAR SCOTUS ruling drug its feet in violation of the letter and spirit of the law, continued to harass and deprive people of a valuable right, and only complied when FORCED to comply? Not me. DC stands for Doesn't Care...
     
  24. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    ... and don't forget that =all= of your purchases must go through the ONE FFL in DC that deals with the general public. There are NO gun stores in DC, nor will there ever be any as long as the current DC city council is in power. They will also see to it that there are no more FFL's in DC via the use of zoning and business licenses.
     
  25. hammerklavier

    hammerklavier Member

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    We seriously need to give DC back to Maryland. That would solve their no representation problem, without making them the 51st and most liberal state of all.
     
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