28 June, 2009


On June 17, 2009, the Metropolitan Police Department issued emergency and
proposed rulemaking expanding the types of handguns that can be legally registered
in the District of Columbia. The emergency and proposed regulations will allow a
greater variety of handguns to be registered in the District of Columbia. To protect
residents from unsafe handguns that are more prone to accidental discharge, lack
safety devices, and may be prone to firing when dropped, the Council of the District of Columbia identified the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale (also known as the California Roster of Handguns Determined Not to be Unsafe) as a source list for safer handguns. Handguns on the roster have passed firing, safety, and drop tests and are certified for sale in California by the California Department of Justice.

The Chief of Police is authorized to periodically revise, by rule, the roster of handguns permissible for sale. The regulations will establish a District Roster of Handguns Not Determined to be Unsafe that will include the California list and handguns that are on the safe gun rosters of Maryland and Massachusetts. These regulations will allow for handguns with superficial differences from handguns on the roster – such as color or grip material - to be registered. The regulations will also allow for handguns that are removed from the California list for administrative reasons to remain on the District list. The Chief will also be issuing new regulations shortly dealing with the registration of additional revolvers not yet included on the District’s Roster.

Since the Heller decision, about 50 applications to register handguns have been
denied. This may have been for a variety of reasons unrelated to the safe handgun list, including that the individual was not eligible to register a handgun. MPD is reviewing these applications to evaluate whether the handgun might be eligible for registration under these new regulations, and will follow up with the applicants. In the meantime, individuals whose applications were rejected because the handgun was not eligible to be registered are also welcome to contact MPD’s Firearms Registration Section.

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