D.C. officials to become gun dealers?

District officials went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to block D.C. residents from owning handguns. Now, a few years later, those same officials might be getting into the gun business themselves.

Handguns have been legal in the District since the Supreme Court ruling in 2008. In the first year afterwards, a thousand handguns were registered. However, there are no gun stores in the District, so residents have to use a licensed gun dealer to transfer their guns into the city.

In April, the only gun dealer in the city lost his lease in his Anacostia office.

“Where does that leave D.C. residents?” asked Michelle Lane. “We have no place else to go.”

Lane is suing the District to make it easier for gun stores to open. D.C police chief Cathy Lanier says the problem needs a solution.

One solution, considered now by the city council, would be for the city to become a federally licensed gun dealer. The move would be a first in the nation.

Most residents ABC7 spoke with said they didn’t think it was a good idea for the city to go into the business of gun sales. Some countered, though, that that might help curb illegal gun sales.

To become the first jurisdiction in the nation licensed to sell guns, the move would have to be approved by the city council, the mayor and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Should the move go through, it would most likely be the D.C. police department that would distribute guns to residents.