February 2005

Downrange: 02/05

BE THANKFUL YOU DON’T LIVE IN D.C.

Gun owners across the county often grouse about how difficult it for them to own firearms in certain jurisdictions — or impossible in others. Certainly, one of the worst gun-rights offenders is the District of Columbia. There, sportsmen are liable to be arrested and imprisoned, no questions asked, merely for owning a gun.

There are cases in which firemen responding to fires have found unloaded rifles or shotguns in private homes. The owners have been threatened with prosecution. There are other cases where homeowners have kept hidden firearms for protection against intruders, and when they used the weapons, they were prosecuted for more serious offenses than the intruder was.

It is insane.

To be legal, D.C. hunters must register their guns with the Metropolitan Police Department. Here is the process:

• Fingerprinting. This step is said to take four to eight weeks, but in reality, there’s no telling how much time the FBI will spend processing the fingerprints.

• Pass a 20-question test.

• Provide proof of residency.

• Provide two passport-type photos.

• Pay an “administrative” fee of $35, plus $13 for each gun.

• Fill out miscellaneous paperwork.

The latest effort to overthrow this onerous law was abandoned last year when the Senate passed D.C.’s budget without gun-law reform legislation.Of course, people who believe that D.C.’s gun laws reduce the number of gun crimes cheered, despite the district’s ongoing presence at the top of murder statistics every year. In contrast, Virginia residents living under looser gun laws see very low gun-crime rates compared to D.C.’s.

How is it that the supposedly “gun-free” district looks like a killing zone compared to its neighbor?

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You’ll notice when you begin reading Duane Thomas’s article on .45 GAP ammo tests later in this issue that we moved a chunk of it to the website. The material we moved is the detailed explanation of how the tests are conducted, and essentially repeats the test protocol from an earlier (October 2004) test of .45 ACP ammo. We did this to save space in the magazine.

The test description is available at www.gun-tests.com, under the Tools & Techniques button. Click on Tools & Techniques, then click on the Ammunition header, and the test protocol is prominently listed above the other ammunition articles (www.gun-tests.com/performance/ammotest.html).


-Todd Woodard