- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2015

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she would not be opposed to the opening of a gun store in the city.

The chief, who oversees the city’s restrictive concealed carry permitting process, was asked about gun stores Friday on WAMU Radio’s “The Politics Hour.”

“If there was a regulated way for people to purchase in the District, I wouldn’t have an issue with it,” Chief Lanier said.

D.C. lawmakers have been steadfastly opposed to loosening firearms restrictions, with residents only able to purchase handguns following a 2008 Supreme Court ruling and more recently able to apply for concealed carry permits after a federal judge struck down the city’s ban on carrying guns in public last year.

Currently there are no gun stores operating in the District. All handgun purchases by D.C. residents must be processed through the city’s lone federal firearms licensed dealer, Charles Sykes, who charges a $125 fee to facilitate the transfer of out-of-state handguns.

D.C. law prevents firearms dealers from opening shop within 300 feet of a residence, school, playground, public library or place of worship.

Mr. Sykes previously had trouble finding a new location for his business after he lost the lease for his office space in Southeast. The city came to an agreement to allow Mr. Sykes to operate his business out of the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department so as to not run afoul of the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled that the city’s long-standing ban on handguns was illegal.

Since the Heller decision, Chief Lanier said about 4,000 firearms have been registered in the city.

More recently, a decision by a federal judge struck down the city’s ban on the carrying of handguns in public. City lawmakers developed a licensing scheme by which gun owners could apply for a concealed carry permit.

Chief Lanier oversees the issuance of the permits, which gun-rights advocates have argued is too restrictive.

Chief Lanier said Friday that of approximately 86 applicants, she’s issued 21 concealed carry permits and denied 24.

“I’m very comfortable with the concealed carry permits that I’ve issued,” she said.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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