- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2008


Before Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was elected mayor of the District of Columbia, he went on a tour of cities in various states (I presume to learn governance). Well, Mr. Fenty now must exercise governance as he responds to the Supreme Court ruling on gun rights.

As The Washington Times put it in the title of a Wednesday editorial (”Keep it simple on guns”), the mayor should, indeed, keep the process simple. In that vein, Mr. Fenty may want to take a short trip to Virginia. Here is how we buy guns - long guns, handguns (both semiautomatics and revolvers) and “assault weapons” - in the Commonwealth:

Assuming a legal age, a prospective buyer enters a gun store, fills out two forms, one federal and one state. The forms ask for the standard identifying information in addition to a series of questions requiring “yes” or “no” answers. The merchant uses information on the forms to run an FBI National Instant Criminal Background check. If there is disqualifying information on file, the gun purchase will be denied at that time. If the purchase is approved, the buyer pays for the gun and goes home.

If he or she is 21, the buyer can strap on the handgun (although it cannot be concealed) and go packing virtually anywhere in the state. If the buyer wishes to conceal the weapon, he or she must apply for a concealed-weapon permit. The fee is $50 dollars. The processing time is about 30 days, and the permit is valid for five years.

The majority of states handle firearms purchases in a fashion similar to Virginia’s. There are even two states, Alaska and Vermont, that do not require permits to conceal.

Yes, Mr. Mayor, there is a simple to way acquire firearms.





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