D.C. Resident May Sue City Over Long Wait Times For Handgun Transfers

Multiple People Dead in German Shooting

(PresidentialWire.com)- Gun rights activist Dick Heller has threatened to sue Washington, D.C., over how it has handled citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

Heller once filed a lawsuit in 2008 that eventually led to the Supreme Court declaring blanket bans on handguns unconstitutional. He is now threatening another lawsuit against the city based on the long wait time it has instituted for gun purchases.

Heller said he’s been waiting since April for local police to process the transfer of a handgun he purchased in Pennsylvania. He has accused local authorities of taking too much time in doing so. He said:

“It’s a bureaucracy and they’re understaffed. They couldn’t care less. They are noticeably not in a hurry.”

The Metropolitan Police Department is the lone gun dealer in Washington, D.C., that is federally licensed. That means any resident who purchases a gun must go through the MPD. In much of the country, background checks and handgun transfers take a very short amount of time.

For its part, MPD says the extreme demand for handguns is the reason for the long delay. Alaina Gertz, a spokeswoman for the MPD, said:

“In less than three months that MPD has been handling this service, the department has received about half of the guns that the prior Federal Firearms Licensee received in all of 2019. We are currently re-examining processes to try to identify additional efficiencies.”

Heller said he’s consulting with legal counsel to see his options for filing a suit against Washington, D.C., over the gun transfer delays.

“They want to spend the money on lazy [staff] instead of giving service to the people that pay taxes,” he said.

MPD takes appointments to process handgun transfers, and most of those are taken up through the end of July.

“In the meantime, there are plenty available in August,” said Gertz.

Gun transfers in Washington, D.C., used to be handled by a private dealer. MPD assumed the responsibility for legal gun transfers for guns that were purchased outside city limits, though, when the business was closed.

But the department is overwhelmed with the requests and doesn’t know how to handle it properly, according to some. Elby Godwin, who has transferred weapons through the MPD and the private dealer, told the Washington Free Beacon that he left the MPD recently, and doesn’t feel employees know what they’re doing. He said:

“Many of them don’t know what they’re doing and are still trying to figure it out … There’s still a lot of people working there that don’t’ know the process in place. If they’d been responsive from the get-go and had the one-day registration back in place, it could have taken half as long.

“One of the cops I spoke with … seemed to have little clue about the process, as if she were just thrown into something.”

Heller said he believes the city needs to do something now to address the issue, saying:

“Whatever is required to eliminate what the citizens are calling denial of service through bureaucracy.”