Day 16 in the So-Called Capitol of the Free World
On my third visit to the gun registration office, the plan was to submit the necessary paperwork; PD 219, and the requested four (remember, the handout says two) passport photos, and take the required written test. After getting a list of charges at the gun registration office, I waited in line at the cashier, and paid $35.00 for finger prints, and the $13.00 registration fee.
I took the test. It is 2 pages -- 1 sheet front and back. I missed one question about what the registration certificate actually entitles me to buy. In effect, going through the registration process once allows you to buy additional guns, but each must be registered in the manor of the first. The fingerprinting, and background investigation are only required the first time. The distinction between the paperwork for the purchaser and the paperwork for each individual firearm is muddy at best, and this is not explained in the Xeroxed documentation. In short, for additional purchases, I go get a form, go buy a gun, submit the form, and if the gun is acceptable to the registration office, then I can pick up the gun.
Incidentally, I requested a copy of my finished test (for the purposes of this writing), but this request was denied. No reason was offered. About the test: The test had not a single question about firearm safety. The test was purely about DC firearms laws, restrictions, and definitions. Safe handling of firearms is, seemingly, not a concern.
At this point, I thought I was done with my portion of the process. So I asked, "Do you have everything you need?" The woman said she thought so, but handed my file to the male officer who works there. He glanced though my file and said that I still needed a notarized certification of mental competence. It was difficult to maintain my gracious attitude. Such a document was never mentioned before this day. Of course, I had to explicitly ask for the appropriate form. The 'form' is just a Xeroxed sheet that you sign saying you haven't been judged mentally incompetent in the last 5 years. At this point I figured I would have to leave to find a notary, sign it in front of them, and get that signature notarized. In a rare moment of helpfulness, the woman said she thought her friend upstairs was a notary. She called the woman to verify. The woman came to me. I thought this was very nice, until she informed me that there was a $5.00 charge. Now, of course, any bank manager will notarize anything for free if you have an account, but I figured $5.00 was a small price to pay for not having to leave and make a return visit. The notary happily accepted cash. You can draw your own conclusions from that last fact.
Before leaving I sought to clear up some questions I had about permissible firearms. The gentleman staffing the office seemed to be well informed on the process, so I asked him. He couldn't or wouldn't resolve the differences between what he personally claimed to be banned, and what is actually covered by the law. He verbally placed a magazine capacity limit of ten rounds on semi-automatic guns, and also said that guns with 'pistol grips' would be denied. The only written limit (in the law or the handout) I can find is 12 rounds, and I can find no written reference to 'pistol grips'. Since almost any hunting rifle has what manufacturers refer to as a 'pistol' grip (the drop behind the trigger) it's pretty clear he's not so well informed. Presumably, he means any gun where the magazine is inserted through a vertical grip. How enlarged thumb holes (think Browning Buckmark rifle) are considered is an open question. One sad thing that came from the conversation was that any semi-auto even conceivably capable of handling more than 10 rounds is banned, so for instance a Ruger 10/22 is verboten, even if you only purchase it with the OEM 10 round magazine. Effectively, DC bans any semi-auto with a detachable magazine -- although the officer refused to actually say that when I pointed it out. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether the officer is clearly over-stepping his bounds. At this point I was told to expect the investigation to take 6 to 8 weeks, after which I would be approved or denied to take delivery of the gun that I already paid for.
Again, on the way out, I requested several, but was denied more than two, blank PD 219's.
Note: As of today the phone message still mentions the wrong hours, and I again mentioned this to the officers on duty.
-- An Anonymous DC resident
Check the groups below and enter your email address to receive updates by email:
The trackback URL for this entry is: http://triggerfinger.org/weblog/servlet/trackback/6320
No trackbacks have been posted so far.
No comments have been posted so far.