Have you heard what’s going on with registered gun owners in Washington DC? At the beginning of 2014, Washington started a mandatory gun re-registration for all gun owners. This includes anyone who has had a registered shotgun or rifle since 1976 and anyone who has had a handgun registered since 2009 (when it became legal).
However, it seems that officials have lost all of the fingerprints done between July 2012 to March 2013, and that those people will need to be re-fingerprinted. No one will offer an exact explanation as to how the fingerprints were lost in the first place. Notices have been sent out to all of these owners, but only a small number of people have actually responded to the required actions.
So how much exactly is this going to cost gun owners, you might ask. To start off, there is the $35 fee to be re-fingerprinted. And on top of that, there is a $13 fee to register every gun in your possession. Gun owner Lenny Harrell began collecting firearms in 2009 and now owns dozens of guns. This new re-registration will cost him hundreds of dollars every three years. Harrell, probably along with everyone else, would like to know where all this money is going.
“In fact, I think it’s going to be turned around as a cash cow. You’re getting $13 a pop and got to get fingerprinted — and I don’t know how much going to the D.C. budget.”
Yup, it’s all going to the government. Only 600 people responded and re-registered so far this year, and with an average of two guns per person, the government pocketed over $17,290.
All over the rest of the country, when you purchase a gun from a dealer, you fill out ATF form 4473 with your name, birthday, and show your identification. Through NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System), the dealer can instantly check your background. But officials in DC are requiring fingerprints because otherwise people can use fake IDs. Additionally, gun owners in DC are the only ones in the country who need to be re-checked every three years.
Of course most people are not supportive of this new system. Brian Wrenn is a registered gun owner in DC.
“It’s something they don’t need to do. They’ve already got my registration. I’ve already gone through a process that was like running an obstacle course. And I don’t think they should be charging me money, especially for my time to come do it again.”
As mentioned above, about 600 people have obeyed the notices that were sent out; to be exact, it is 605 gun owners. Over 7,000 notices have been sent out. Apparently the process isn’t working out as well as officials hoped. There are penalties for not re-registering firearms, which is a fine. The fines will increase after the deadline. And after you are 90 days late, the registration is cancelled, you are considered a felon, there is a $1,000 fine, and can face up to one year in prison for each gun you own. So far, there are about 2,200 people who are 90 days past their deadline and are now criminals.
“I think they want as much control over every aspect of gun ownership as they can have. And if they find someone they can go after on a technicality, the evidence of their past conducts says that they will.”
Does anyone have personal experience or know anyone in DC who is going through this process? What are your thoughts?