Friday, January 27, 2012

Firearms Friday: Emily Gets Her Gun

I have been following a series in the Washington Times called "Emily Gets Her Gun". Emily Miller is a senior editor at the Washington Times who has decided that she wants a handgun for personal protection and now that the SCOTUS has struck down DC's gun ban she would acquire one. The series follows all the twists turns and hoops she has to navigate through to legally buy a gun in DC and is now on its 19th article.

It is the most recent article titled "Transferring a gun into D.C." that I want to comment on today. In this most recent article Emily details the difficulty of, after actually buying a gun, legally moving it into the District of Columbia. One section in particular stood out at me:

I bought my gun from Mark Attanasio of Immortal Arms in Culpeper Virginia. When I made the purchase on the phone, the dealer offered to deliver the gun to Mr. Sykes. I had a feeling that he couldn’t do that, but he believed that his Federal Firearms License (FFL) would suffice.
After sorting through the D.C. gun laws, Mr. Attanasio called me back. “I’m a FFL licensed dealer and I can’t drive it into the city to Sykes, another licensed dealer,” he told me, astounded. “But I can send it to him and pass through who-knows-how-many unlicensed hands.” I'm watching first-hand how gun-control restrictions aren't based on common sense.
Lack of common sense indeed. For those of you not following the story, Mr. Sykes is DC's only licensed gun dealer. He doesn't sell guns or keep any in stock, rather he only transfers them. Since DC residents can't buy guns out of state, were he to close up shop that would effectively renew the ban on firearms in DC. This almost happened when he couldn't afford to pay his business's rent any longer,  but to avoid a new SCOTUS trial the city offered him a place to do business in a DC police station.

Let's stop here for a minute though. When the city has to bend over backwards to keep one man, one man, in business to avoid a Supreme Court challenge,  then there's a good chance you're gun laws are too restrictive. What happens if My. Sykes is hit by a bus? Has a heart attack? For the citizens of our nations capital, their ability to exercise their Second Amendment right to acquire arms literally hangs on one man's business. That in and of itself is a problem.

It doesn't stop there of course. Since Mr. Sykes does not actually sell firearms, Ms. Miller had to go and buy one out of state. The FFL that she bought it from offers to drive it to Mr. Sykes. But he can't! Instead the law forces him to mail it! Now there is nothing inherently wrong about mailing a firearm, but a system that forces someone to use the mail instead of the arguably more secure offer of driving the gun from one FFL to another is flawed.

Ms. Miller is right, this shows a complete lack of common sense. The ironic thing is that people like Mayor Bloomberg or anyone associated with the Brady Campaign love to insist that they only want to pass "common sense gun control laws." Yet they hold up DC's laws as a shining example of so-called common sense gun control!

I highly encourage you to read the series in its entirety or at least read a couple of the articles. The amount of time, money and uncertainty in the DC laws put owning a firearm outside of the reach of most people. Effectively DC still has a ban on handguns.

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