Through the course of writing the “Emily Gets Her Gun” series on getting a firearm legally, I’ve become all too familiar with the ins and outs of the registration process in Washington, D.C. Now I will have the opportunity to share my experiences, complaints and suggestions with the local lawmakers who have the power to change these regulations.
I will be testifying before the D.C. city council’s Judiciary Committee on Monday, Jan. 30. As a D.C. resident, I will be telling the council members about my personal experience in trying to follow their convoluted registration process.
Committee Chairman Phil Mendelson, Democrat at-large, is holding the hearing on the Firearms Amendment Act, which would ease some requirements for gun registration.
In early November, I started publishing stories in The Washington Times about the significant burden in terms of cost, time and travel to take the required five-hour gun ownership class. Less than a month later, Mr. Mendelson introduced this bill which in part would make it possible to take the class without leaving the District.
In addition, I have brought attention to the fact that the list of certified instructors for the class had not been updated by Metropolitan Police Department in over two years. Within a month, a new list showed up online with 15 new teachers added and 14 obsolete ones removed. That was a good step in the right direction.
At the same time, the city loosened its tight grip on the list of guns eligible for registration. The law was that any gun on the California, Massachusetts or Maryland lists before 2009 was legal in D.C. Now, residents don’t have to do as much research, as all the guns on the three states’ lists are eligible in the District.
The District’s gun control laws were written after the 30-year gun ban was overturned by the Supreme Court’s Heller decision in 2008.
The Mendelson bill would amend the current firearms laws to allow a person to temporarily possess a firearm while participating in the gun ownership course; no longer require the class for those with military training or a gun license in another state; clarify that the written test is a one-time requirement per applicant; repeal the requirement for a vision test; repeal the requirement that each pistol be submitted for ballistic testing; require the police to take the registration photo instead of the resident providing passport photos; and make other corrections and clarifications.
I’m working on my formal testimony, but, really, I want to just tell the council that I intend to own a gun to protect myself, and it’s my right to do so. And they are making that as difficult as possible.
Next up in the series: Applying to register a gun in D.C.
“Emily Gets Her Gun” is a series following senior editor Emily Miller as she tries to legally get her hands on a gun in the nation’s capital. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.