I finally got my gun in Washington, D.C. I brought it home today from the District’s firearms’ registry office.
got it After months of aggravation, hundreds of dollars in fees, countless hours jumping over hurdles, I am now a gun owner and finally exercising my second amendment right to keep arms (bearing arms is still illegal in the nation’s capital).
When I first started the “Emily Gets Her Gun” series, I thought I would be waiting in long lines and filling out lots of paperwork. I never could have imagined that the D.C. gun laws made it so unearthly difficult to get a legal handgun. However, I also never could have believed that this newspaper series would encourage change in Washington’s gun laws.
The bad guys buy guns off the street in five minutes, and the city has no record of the transaction. Law-abiding citizens have to take a five-hour class that is only taught outside of the District, pay $465 in fees, sign six forms, pass a written test on gun laws, get fingerprinted, be subject to a police ballistics test and take days off work.
Five minutes and no fees for an illegal gun. Weeks and almost $500 in fees for a legal gun. Which option do you think most people in this city are choosing?
Of course, I went the legal route and this final day at Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) headquarters was as much a pointless waste of my time and city resources as the other days spent in this registration process.
After the 10-day waiting period ended, I called the registry office and was told that my application was approved. I made an appointment for 11 a.m. on Wednesday with the city’s only legal gun dealer, Charles Sykes, to give him the approved form. I took the Metro and went to MPD headquarters a half hour early in order to pick up the forms. Like every other time I have been there, I was the only citizen in the registry office.
“Hi Officer Brown,” I said with much friendliness, knowing this will probably be the last time I have to talk to her. “I’m Emily Miller. I’m here to pick up my gun registration.”