- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The District’s newly minted concealed carry laws require gun owners seeking permits to complete 18 hours of firearms training.

One problem: As of Wednesday, the day before a court-ordered deadline for the permitting process to begin, no instructors had been approved to teach the compulsory course.

The disparity is emblematic of the city’s reluctant scramble to comply with the July order that overturned the District’s ban on carrying handguns in public.

The Metropolitan Police Department, working off legislation adopted by D.C. lawmakers last month, released the concealed carry applications on its website at about 7 p.m. Wednesday — hours before the stay of U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr.’s order was set to expire.

The regulations firm up the details of the application process, including establishing a $75 cost to apply for a permit.

But it’s unlikely anyone will be walking out of police headquarters with the license anytime soon.


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Police officials said a solicitation to firearms instructors was not issued until Monday for the course, which involves 16 hours of classroom safety training and two hours of proficiency training on the gun range.

Several firearms instructors who are certified to train security guards have told the department that they are working to develop courses to satisfy the concealed carry application requirements, police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said.

“Once they submit their applications, we will quickly process their applications,” she said.

George Lyon, a firearms instructor and one of four gun owners involved in the court case that overturned the D.C. ban on carrying guns in public, said a $435 certification fee might discourage some trainers from applying.

“This is another example of them making the process as difficult and expensive as possible,” Mr. Lyon said.

He said he has not decided whether to pursue approval by D.C. Metropolitan Police as an instructor. “It’s definitively an inhibition. Maryland does it for nothing, and D.C. has to charge $435?”

It’s also unclear exactly how soon firearms instructors would be needed.

The training class would not be required until Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier decides whether a legal gun owner has demonstrated a “good reason” to carry a firearm. The regulations say the investigative process to qualify for permits could take 90 days or longer for gun owners to demonstrate that they are targets of specific threats.

Similarly, the city has yet to appoint members to the Concealed Pistol Licensing Review Board, which will hear appeals from gun owners who are denied permits by the chief.

“The mayor and other appointing officials have been actively assembling the review board, and its members will be announced very soon,” said Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The panel will be in place when it is needed.”

Applicants who are approved will have 45 days to complete the required training course. Some applicants, based on their experience, may be able to apply for exemptions from most of the training requirements.

The police department wouldn’t estimate how long the process might take from start to finish, though Ms. Crump noted that in Maryland — which has many similar requirements — it takes 60 to 90 days.

Lawmakers have estimated that hundreds of people might be able to qualify for concealed carry permits. About 3,300 handguns have been registered in the District since the Supreme Court overturned the city’s near total ban on gun ownership in 2008.

Concealed carry permit holders will be prohibited from taking guns into sensitive locations such as schools and government buildings, or within 1,000 feet of demonstrations or public dignitaries.

But the regulations publicized Wednesday also stipulate that Chief Lanier “may limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times of the day, week, month, or year in which a license is valid or effective.”

Gun owners say the laws are too restrictive and that they intend to challenge the regulations on the basis that they do not comply with Judge Scullin’s order to adopt a “licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Alan Gura, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in Palmer v. District of Columbia, filed a motion this month asking the judge to block implementation of the law. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Mr. Lyon said he may wait until after the outcome of that hearing to try to pursue a concealed carry permit.

“I don’t want to go through a useless act,” he said.

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