Committee on the Judiciary February 29, 2012Report on Bill 19-614 Page 2 of 28Even as introduced, Bill 19-614 actually deals more broadly with firearms regulation thanthe single issue of ensuring the availability of training within the District’s borders. TheCommittee has used this legislation to make a wide range of revisions to the law.Bill 19-614 maintains core aspects of the District’s gun control law: (1) all firearms mustbe registered; (2) certain types of weapons (e.g., automatic weapons) are prohibited; and (3)potentially dangerous persons (e.g., ex-felons or the mentally ill) may not possess a firearm.Among the more noteworthy changes, the bill:
Enables firearms training within the District, both before and after registration;
Eliminates the ballistics test now required of each firearm as a component of registration;
Eliminates any vision requirement except for the legally blind;
Eliminates the required 4-hour training course (plus 1-hour on a range);
Delays microstamping until January 1, 2014 to give time for implementation inCalifornia;
Delays re-registration until January 1, 2014 to give time for implementation by theMPD;
Authorizes (but does not require) the Mayor to act as an FFL if no other FFL isoperating; and
Eliminates most limitations on what ammunition a registrant may possess.
A short history of gun control in the District of Columbia
The Committee has not undertaken an in-depth research of the history, but it is clear fromthe present law that Congress has long been concerned about gun violence in the nation’scapital. Two years before adoption of the National Firearms Act of 1934, Congress enacted “AnAct To control the possession, sale, transfer and use of pistols and other dangerous weapons inthe District of Columbia, to provide penalties, to prescribe rules of evidence, and for otherpurposes.”
Although amended from time to time, this statute remains in effect and is codifiedas Chapter 45 of Title 22 of the D.C. Official Code. Its provisions are frequently the basis forgun-related criminal prosecutions in the District of Columbia.Thus, gun control had been on the books for over 40 years when the newly elected HomeRule Council adopted the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975.
47 Stat 650; D.C. Code 22-4501
(approved July 8, 1932).
Codified as chapter 25 of Title 7, this act imposes a broad regulatory scheme on the acquisition, possession, and transfer of firearms. The act requires registration of all firearms, restricts who may register a firearm (forinstance, has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institutionwithin 5 years preceding the registration application), and prohibits certain firearms entirely.
D.C. Law 1-85; D.C. Official Code § 7-2501.01