DC Police fingerprinted me yesterday. But I'm not a criminal—I paid them to do it.
That's because I'm applying for one of the city's new concealed carry permits.
I live in Virginia and have been licensed to carry there for more than a year. I even carried into the city legally during the brief period after DC's gun carry ban was declared unconstitutional. In response to that ruling, DC recently implemented a heavily restrictive concealed carry law.
If I want to bring my friends Smith and Wesson along when I travel into the city to file pieces for the world's greatest fish-wrapped anti-Clinton website (and I do, since I both love working here and not being killed) I need to get a permit. Or, more accurately, try to get a permit.
I took a visit to the Firearms Registration Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department Thursday afternoon and I handed over my application, driver's license, Virginia concealed carry license, and $110. Now I'm well on my way to wasting $110.
The D.C. concealed carry law is what's referred to as "May Issue." That means a bureaucrat has final say over who gets to bear arms and who doesn't. In this case, that's the city's Chief of Police. According to the application guidelines she will only consider people with active and documented threats against them for approval. A simple desire to defend oneself in the most dangerous jurisdiction within a hundred miles will not even be considered as a justification.
Now, I've received threats. I've even had deeply weird, vaguely homoerotic threats made against me. Here, read it for yourself.
Your Nightmare says:
pray this #OWS thing goes nowhere. Because if it does, you’re gonna get it – and I’m gonna give it to ya.
You’re a dirty, ideologue snitch. You’re a bootlicker; your tongue’s blacker than coal. You’re gonna get it man, oh you wait. I can’t wait to give it to you. I’m gonna give it to you good, you dirty, bootlicking snitch. You’ll get what’s coming to you, if the heart attack doesn’t come first, you oversized olive. It’d take me two hours to drive around that gut, you shameless face-stuffer. Ah man, you’re gonna get it and I can’t wait. #OWS is stickin it to all you dirty, fat, bottlicking snitches. Thank god we didn’t have too many of you during the revolution, we’d have never won because you’d be snitching on our plans while licking dirty, red-coat boots, you filthy, dirty, bootlicking snitch. Ah man you’re so gonna get it. I have a poster of you on my wall and every day I fantasize about how you’re gonna get it so bad, you bootlicker, you snitch, you dirty red-coat. Your masters must be very proud, you obama-plant. You closet neo-liberal. You bootlickin, snitchin, 3rd world enslavin, fascist. You’d love to have a couple slaves of your own, wouldn’t ya? You dirty snitch. You’d love to get a taste, be like massa koch or massa soros for a day, wouldn’t ya, you dirty little snitch boy. Oh, you’re gonna get it so bad, we’re comin for ya.
Of course, I included this death threat and/or pickup line in the section of the form where it asks applicants to provide specific threats against them. This likely won't be enough to get me approved. That's because the city appears to be looking for threats or incidents of violence that have already been reported to the police. According to the city's instruction sheet:
For the purposes of satisfying the specifications of § 2333.1, a person shall allege, in writing, serious threats of death or serious bodily harm, any attacks on his or her person, or any theft of property from his or her person. The person shall provide all evidence of contemporaneous reports to the police of such threats or attacks, and disclose whether or not the applicant has made a sworn complaint to the police or the courts of the District of Columbia concerning any threat or attack.
Since the threat was made by a deranged anonymous Internet troll I never reported it to the police. So it seems unlikely that will qualify.
But who knows?
Lieutenant John Shelton, the former director of the Firearms Registration Unit, is temporarily overseeing the concealed carry application process. Shelton said that so far, no one has been approved for a permit by the city nearly three weeks after it began accepting them.
"Not at this time," he said.
I also asked Shelton about a concern raised by several reporters, including Fox 5's Emily Miller. To obtain a permit applicants must complete 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of live fire training with an MPD certified trainer. At this point, MPD has no certified trainers.
He told me that problem has been addressed. There will be exactly one MPD certified trainer available at the same time applications begin being approved.
Luckily for me, I was dropping off my application at the exact time that trainer was finalizing his paperwork. His name is Leon Spears, and he will be the only person legally allowed to teach those seeking DC concealed carry permits the information they need to get one.
Spears said he plans to charge $140 for the classroom portion of the training and $100 for the live fire training. I was surprised he planned to charge that little for that much training but even still, that makes the whole process a whopping $350.
It cost $30 in training and another $50 in application fees to get my Virginia license to carry.