Although the Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional District of Columbia handgun ban in D.C. v. Heller, lawful handgun ownership is an arduous process:Below is a summary of the steps that a citizen must take to become a lawful handgun owner in D.C.:
1. Acquire the D.C. MPD “Firearms Registration General Requirements and Study Guide,” Application for Firearms Registration Certificate, and Statement of Eligibility.
2. Attend the Mandatory Gun Safety Class
3. Buy a handgun
4. Meet with Mr. Charles Sykes (to sign the required Firearms Registration Certificate in his presence)
5. Obtain Two Passport-Size Photos
6. File Your Registration Application, Pay the Fees, Get Fingerprinted, and Take the Test
7. Obtain the Approved Firearms Registration Certificate
8. Visit Mr. Charles Sykes Again (to transfer the handgun)
9. Visit the Firearms Registration Section Again
10. Take the Handgun Home
Even after completing those steps, a D.C. resident may only possess their firearm at home (no concealed carry is permitted).
Criminals, on the other hand, have a much easier process of acquiring a handgun:
Making law abiding gun owners jump through all those hoops doesn’t improve public safety, as criminals will bypass those those hoops and just take the 1-step approach to (illegal) gun ownership. The result is that D.C.’s criminals are still armed, while many law abiding citizens are deterred from owning a gun for self defense and other lawful purposes. When those criminals prey upon unarmed and defenseless victims, tragedy results.
The simple fact is that criminals, by definition, don’t obey that law. A person who is willing to break the law against murder, rape, robbery, or any other serious crime will logically be just as willing to break the law that tells them not to have a gun. That is why gun control is doomed to fail in the US, just as it has failed for the British.