- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2011

Washington is doing everything it can to prevent residents from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. On Oct. 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the city’s ban on high-capacity magazines and firearms that happen to have a scary appearance. The judges left open the possibility that some of the other absurd rules - including the testing of a purchaser’s knowledge of local gun laws, vision tests, ballistics tests and fingerprinting - might go too far.

A day after the ruling came down, The Washington Times’ Emily Miller went to the D.C. Firearms Registration office to get a first-hand look at just how obnoxious the rules could be. She left with a stack of papers and study material imposed on anyone daring to exercise a constitutional right.

Charles Sykes, the only vendor in the city with a license to complete a gun transaction in the District, was asked by The Washington Times about the complex process. “I don’t understand why they try to make it so difficult for the honest people from getting a gun the right way,” said Mr. Sykes.

Gun sales have skyrocketed in the rest of the country, but few dare take on the D.C. bureaucracy. “You don’t see a big line outside that door,” said Mr. Sykes. Residents have only been buying about 250 legal guns a year. He said since the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, the city has only registered 1,500 guns.

Last May, Mr. Sykes lost his lease when his office building was sold. He struggled for months against the city’s effort to classify him as “firearms retail sales establishment.” The designation meant he couldn’t be within a football field’s distance from a school, church, apartment, house or library. In this tightly packed city, that left no reasonably priced options.

Thanks to a pending lawsuit, however, city officials realized the court would bust them for denying residents the ability to buy a gun within the law. When Mr. Sykes proposed the idea of leasing government space, they relented and agreed to a spot in the police department’s building.

D.C. City Council Chairman Kwame Brown expressed the city’s attitude in a recent meeting with The Washington Times. “I don’t support having more guns in the District of Columbia,” said Mr. Brown. “I don’t think we need more guns in our streets.” Mr. Sykes shook his head when he heard this, saying, “In all other cities, you can have guns. Why do they say, ‘We don’t want guns in the nation’s capital?’ They are here. And you can go to a lot of different places and get them just like that.”

The District’s obsolete gun-control schtick has grown tiresome. Gun sales are at an all-time high throughout America, and crime is at an all-time low. A better-armed city is a safer city.