Gun Control in the DMV


Gun control policy is one of the issues of the decade. Recently, there has been mass shootings in various parts of the country and the debate on gun control laws has been at the center of it all. In 2012, a man walked into an elementary school in Connecticut killing 20 students and six adults. In the summer of 2016, a man walked into Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL and killed 49 people. Less than a month ago, a man obtained over 15 guns in Las Vegas where he killed 58 people and wounded 500.

The debate on gun control has traveled across the country and has landed in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) in regards to firearms and if they are a privileged asset or a liability.

Washington D.C.

In DC The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is a group that tries to find solutions to gun violence across the country. Their mission statement is, seek to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement, and effective policy advocacy.

Andrew Patrick, media director for CSGV says that gun laws would be better if they were the same across all states. He also says that there should be less of a federal push on laws and more of a state push.

“Well for gun control there is a state by state basis for certain aspects of gun control, but there’s also not having a federal umbrella law over every state makes it easier to push guns and illegal guns into communities.”

D.C. Gun Laws

  • Limited the right to carry a handgun in public to people with a good reason for self-defense
  • All firearms must be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department. A background check and online training are required.
  • Assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles prohibited.
  • Illegal to possess or acquire magazines of more than 10 round capacity.
  • Open carry is currently prohibited.
  • Automatic firearms, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and silencers prohibited.
  • Private party firearm transfers must be conducted through a licensed dealer, who is required by federal law to conduct a background check and keep a record of the sale. This only applies to sales made within the District of Columbia. Sales made by DC firearms owners outside of the District of Columbia must only conform to that state’s transfer laws

 How to buy a gun in D.C.

“Really in D.C. you could drive to Virginia and go to a gun store and purchase your gun.” Now you would have to show reason to get a permit to carry it in DC. But it’s as easy as crossing the river,” says Andrew Patrick, media director at CSGV.

D.C. 2017 Homicide Stat Facts

The District has fewer than seven murders per 100,000 residents and in 2016 18.5 percent of crimes were homicides.

WTop has reportedly said that through July 5, 2017 the District recorded 56 homicides. That is 14 percent fewer than the 65 homicides reported in the first half of 2016.

To assist police officers in solving homicides the city has created a Twitter page as a way for people to give and receive information on people that have died from homicides.

D.C. doesn’t have gun shops to purchase firearms but does allow residents to obtain a gun in other states as long as they follow the proper procedures. Virginia is very lenient in their rules and even has an advocacy group fighting for the removal of gun control laws. Maryland has pretty stern regulations on owning a gun.

Even with such strict restrictions on guns, Maryland routinely ranks among the most dangerous states in terms of violent crime statistics.

Maryland Gun Laws

  • There is no permit required to purchase a handgun
  • Registration of handguns is required under Maryland gun laws
  • No license is required at time of purchase
  • A permit is required to carry a handgun under Maryland gun laws
  • A background check is required to purchase a handgun

Maryland Gun Shop: Purchasing a firearm Procedure

At a gun shop in Severn, Maryland called, ‘On Target,’ it has a precautionary process before customers can just buy a gun.

First, the customer has to sign up to take a training class which is one or two sessions. They must pass a short gunfire quiz in addition to having a background check with your finger prints on file.

After, all of these steps are made a person can enjoy searching for their very own firearm.

Maryland 2017 Homicide Stat Facts

 Unfortunately, the homicide rate in Maryland is rising. In Baltimore alone there are 24 murders per 100,000 residents. By June of this year homicides were already 30 percent higher than that time last year and the number had climbed about 85 percent when compared to three years ago.

The Baltimore Sun has created a page to list the 100 most recent homicides in Baltimore. The murders are organized into the date and time of the murder, the victim’s name, address, age and the race. The data shown is current as of October 19, 2017.


In Virginia, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) is a group that stands for people’s gun rights. VCDL is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 13 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Both the U.S. and Virginia state constitution says, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

So the question is why are there so many laws and rules in regards to purchasing and handling a firearm?

The History of Gun Control Laws

Phillip Van Cleave, President of VCDL says there are firearm restrictions because gun control began when slavery ended.

“It started with slavery. It took off really big when the slaves were freed and at that time gun control kicked in, and because they didn’t want the freed slaves to have access to guns because the slave owners were afraid that they’d come back for revenge and those who didn’t want the slaves free like the Ku Klux Klan and so forth they didn’t want the slaves armed because then they couldn’t terrorize them they couldn’t control them if they had guns.”

VCDL is an organization that believes that there should be no rules at all in regards to guns.

“We don’t have any issue other than guns.,” says Van Cleave.

The organization thinks that all people should have the right to own a gun for various reasons. One being that some like to go shooting for fun as a hobby. For people like the elderly they are pretty much defenseless and if someone were to break into their homes they could take full advantage of them. But, if they had a gun they would be able to easily protect themselves.

VCDL is a “Watch Dog” and if a state agency or local government illegally tries to ban hand guns or illegally arrests someone based on the color of their skin then they get involved to make them back down. Usually it only requires a phone call but they are willing to take things to court.

Virginia Gun Laws

  • You cannot carry a firearm on school property unless you have a concealed handgun permit. Also, you can have it in the car with you concealed, but you cannot leave the car.
  • You can’t carry in a court house.
  • You can’t carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. If you carry conceal you can’t drink, but if you carry open you can drink.
  • Hunting laws-in some areas you can’t have a loaded lawn gun in your car but you could in others.

How to buy a gun in Virginia

Almost anyone can buy a gun in the state of Virginia. All you have to do is go to a gun dealer, do a background check and if it’s approved you are able to purchase a gun. If the dealer finds out that a person is prohibited from carrying a gun then they will not be allowed to receive a permit to buy a firearm.

Virginia 2017 Homicide Stat Facts

In Virginia, more people are killed annually by gunfire than in car accidents. For the first time in 2009 guns accounted for more deaths than car accidents. If these trends continue, the number of gun deaths in Virginia will be 24 percent higher than the number of car accident deaths by the end of the next assembly’s term in 2017 and 31 percent higher by the end of the next Senate’s term in 2019.

Since, the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007 an estimated 7,173 people have died at the hand of a gun. Majority of women are killed with guns by intimate partners at a high rate and Virginia is one of the top exporters of crime guns.

Who has the highest homicide rate?

D.C. doesn’t have gun shops to purchase firearms but it does allow residents to obtain a gun in other states as long as they follow the proper procedures. Virginia is very lenient in their rules and even has an advocacy group fighting for the removal of gun control laws. Maryland has pretty stern regulations on owning a gun.

Even with such strict restrictions on guns, Maryland routinely ranks among the most dangerous states in terms of violent crime statistics.

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