- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2013

The D.C. police department has released information about how to re-register firearms in the city — two years after the original deadline.

Hoping to establish “a simple, streamlined process” for re-registering firearms in the District, the department has proposed a renewal process “for firearms that … were required to be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department before Jan. 1, 2011.”

“We have worked to meet the requirements of the law while trying to streamline the process as much as possible,” police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Monday.

About 30,000 firearm owners in the District are up for permit renewal, police said.

Despite the two-year delay in re-registration, gun owners in the District have not been breaking the law.

Last year, the city council approved a bill that gave gun owners until January 2014 to re-register. The District requires gun owners to renew their registration every three years, but was ill-equipped to handle upcoming renewals.

The District prohibited handguns for decades until the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban in 2008 with its landmark opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.

The proposal states that the registration would take place throughout the next two years, with gun owners renewing their firearms based on their birthdays.

The registrant would be required to appear in person at police headquarters to be fingerprinted and show proof of ownership of the firearm, as well as confirm the home address and “continued compliance with the act’s registration requirements.”

“The proposed rulemaking establishes a three-month window for registrants to renew, with an additional 30-day grace period,” police said “Registrants that renew more than 30 days but fewer than 90 days after the three-month window would pay twice the amount of the $13 registration fee.”

Firearms owners not renewing their registrations within the time frame would have their registration canceled, police said.

Kristopher Baumann, chairman of Metropolitan Police Department’s Fraternal Order of Police union, said the proposed changes “are a reflection of the increasing bureaucracy created by Phil Mendelson and the D.C. Council.”

“What residents should be asking themselves is this: Given that homicides, sexual assaults, and assaults with guns are all up in the District this year; is this really what we want the police spending their time on — helping people fill out forms? If Mr. Mendelson and his colleagues were as worried and proactive about crime and its victims as they are about lawful registered firearms — the District might actually be enjoying a significant decrease in violent crime like the rest of the country.”

The public has until Dec. 14 to comment on the proposed rules, Ms. Crump said, after which the police department will make any changes necessary before publishing the final version.

• Meredith Somers can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.

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