Inside DC's Gun Registry

Emily shotgun

The D.C. Gun Registry office is not where you go for help getting a legal gun; it’s where you go to get more confused by bureaucracy. 

After going thorough the magnetometers at D.C Police headquarters on Wednesday, the first door I saw said “GUN REGISTRY.” That was easy, I thought. I went through the glass doors and entered a narrow office with a desk in front manned by a single female uniformed police officer. 


“I’m here to get a gun,” I told her. I was the only one there. Her name tag said “D.A. Brown.”

“You want to register your gun?” Officer Brown asked. 

“No, no, I don’t have a gun yet. I mean I’m here to get a gun permit,” I said.

“This is D.C., you can’t get a gun permit. You can’t be carrying a gun around with you. It’s for home protection,” she said. I was totally confused. I asked what was the difference. “You can’t carry it around like I do,” she said, pointing at the gun in her holster. “You can’t get a license. You can buy a gun and register it.” 

She started putting piles of paper on the desk between us. “Here’s everything you need to know,” she said. “You fill out this form. This one has a trick question so be careful. This one you give to Sykes.”  


“What do I do first?” I asked picking up all the papers. 

“You get a gun and then get it registered,” she said.

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