D.C. Police Take Over All FFL Transfers On Mayor’s Order

On a good day, purchasing a firearm as a resident of Washington, D.C. requires a lot of paperwork. Oh, and a $125 transfer fee plus another $50 or so to register your gun with the police department.

But since March 14th, it’s been impossible to get the transfer done because the District’s only Federal Firearms Licensee, Charles Sykes, decided to close up shop because he became overwhelmed with business due to the COVID-19 gun boom.

“I was getting so inundated with firearms coming in, it got to be too much,” Sykes told The Washington Post. “I had to stop accepting them. Any firearms that come in now, they automatically get sent back.”

This is the location of Sykes’s previous shop. (Photo: Google Maps)

Sykes lost the lease on his original shop in 2011 and has since been operating from the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department, according to dcist.com. Rent for his space there is reportedly just $100 per month. But it’s a good spot because guns must also be registered in the same building.

SEE ALSO: Woman’s Breast Implant Deflects .40-Caliber Bullet, Saving Her Life

The recent flood of firearms sales just proved too much for his operation. Every handgun purchased by a DC resident must be transferred through an FFL in the District. Because Sykes was the only FFL, he got all the business.

Since 2011, DC’s only FFL has operated from MPD Headquarters. (Photo: Google Maps)

“It looked like it was going to continue, that there was no end in sight,” he said. “A person has to know his limitations, and I know mine.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office was aware of this problem and started working for a solution.

“Last month, the city’s sole commercial federal firearms licensee (FFL) abruptly ceased accepting any new business,” the city’s website reports. “MPD and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice immediately started working on options to meet residents’ Second Amendment requirements, while also ensuring public safety.”

Bowser issued an order allowing the Metropolitan Police Department to function as an FFL while there is no other commercial FFL in the city. The transfer fee will still be $125.

All the requirements and information for making FFL transfers and registering new guns are listed on the Metropolitan Police Department’s website. Unfortunately, it looks like FFL transfers and registrations are located on different floors of the building.

Second Amendment groups put pressure on the mayor’s office to find a solution to Sykes closure. It’s yet to be seen how such groups will react to the city’s police department being in charge of FFL transfers, which is a commercial venture in other cities and not a function of local government.

In the meantime, it looks like there’s an opportunity open for an FFL in Washington, D.C. — provided you can get around the strict zoning requirements for opening a gun store and get the authority back from the police.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Mark - IN. April 27, 2020, 7:54 am

    I remember watching the news years back when a Washington DC mayor was captured on undercover video in a hotel room buying and doing drugs. Elections have consequences. Looking at the pictures in the story, one reminds me of Broadway ST. in Gary, IN. where the buildings on both sides of the street are boarded up for easily 10 blocks at a minimum stretching south from City Hall. Beautiful places with priorities in no specific order.

  • Christopher Chason April 26, 2020, 8:12 am

    The police (City) will NEVER give the “authority” back! (Not w/o major Court Intervention)
    The Lefty mayor now has a Dream-Come-True, for Constitution hating Leftwing, Anti-American scum! Of course, no one ever pointed-out that it is ILLEGAL to force citizens too “Register” lawfully owned firearms, so the crooks who have been running that cesspool have been getting-away with THAT crime for a long while already! THIS just helps to cement the position for them!
    Well, what can I say? The Sheeple there are the ones who elected these crooks! Then they sit and WONDER WHY things are going too Hell around them!

  • Jeremy Golden April 25, 2020, 7:23 am

    Won’t be hard to get the guns “registered” now, will it?

  • Bill April 24, 2020, 1:35 pm

    I can’t believe the guy shut down his business because he was too busy. He should have hired some help maybe? This guy has been the only gun dealer in Washington DC for many years. I’m sure he has been making a killing doing this. Do wonder how the police department will keep the bound book and 4473’s that are required by the ATF as the department does not have an FFL. Federal Firearms License. It appears to me that the dealer was forced to quit or paid off to shut down so the city government could stall all guns legally coming into the city to people legally able to possess a firearm. So now,(Big Surprise), only the criminals will have guns that were brought into the city illegally. Really makes a whole lot of sense to me.

    • Give Me Liberty April 26, 2020, 8:23 pm

      Those citizen gun laws are meant to restrict and control the citizens of those states and get tax revenue. They will do nothing to stop criminals.

      Citizens are also restricted to ten round or less crippled capacity magazines and not allowed to carry more ammunition than is required to fully load the pistol twice or greater than twenty rounds of ammunition.

      Yep, Washington District of Columbia has laws that severely infringe the 2nd Amendment rights of their citizens.

      I regularly carry twenty-five rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson with my pistol where I live and it is legal. Just because one conceal carries a Glock model 17 with about fifty rounds of 9 millimeter ammo in three magazines does not mean they want to go do a shooting at a school.

  • Dave April 24, 2020, 9:59 am

    I wonder if this will cover all the back alley transfers too?

  • Warren April 24, 2020, 9:50 am

    They probably enacted this knowing it is not legal, which will force someone to file suit and then have it heard through the courts, which takes time.

  • Dr Motown April 24, 2020, 8:43 am

    Did Sykes ever think of hiring some help? Sounds like he had a pretty cushy arrangement there with the city…and no competition. Someone’s brother-in-law?🤭

    • Don T. April 24, 2020, 11:17 am

      Your on the right track.
      Now I wonder if this toe in the door for the government to take over gun registration.
      One more government agency between you and your 2A right.

      • DaveGinOly April 29, 2020, 12:48 pm

        As we’ve seen recently in NJ, the folly of allowing government to get between us and firearms happened a long time ago, thanks to the NRA. I’m referring to background checks. NJ stopped conducting background checks, effectively making firearms acquisition (at least legally) impossible.

        But thank you, New Jersey, for demonstrating that not only can the background check system be abused, it has been abused. I’m hoping this will come back to bite them.

        As we speak, CA is preparing its answer to a stay issued by the 9th Circuit Court in an attempt to quash an injunction against the background check for ammunition. Again, we see that not only can the background check be abused, but that it (like all gun laws) is not enough – it only greased the slippery slope.

        It occurred to me yesterday that imposing background checks on ammo purchases is a tacit admission that background checks for firearms don’t actually prevent criminals from acquiring guns. If you’re a criminal and need ammo, obviously you acquired a firearm from somewhere, the background check for gun purchases notwithstanding.

    • Tim April 26, 2020, 7:18 am

      I wonder if the owner of the store ever sold guns to anyone but Police, Judges, attorneys and the like. Having a gun shop in the city hall building. Allowed to rent for $100 per month. Makes me wonder if the gun shop wasn’t just for special people? Around here there are several LEO’s with FFL’s that order for the guys in the office. Maybe this was one of those deals? Don’t know but seems like an odd location for a gun shop and an awful lot of cooperation from city hall and the PD. Not to mention the owner must have turned over his FFL to the PD for them to be using it. Anyone ever hear of a regular Joe buying from this FFL?

  • Randy April 24, 2020, 7:36 am

    You have to be kidding me. No you HAVE To BE KIDDING me right? Overwhelmed because you’re doing too much business?? I’m sorry but this FFL just bailed on his fellow Patriots because he feels “too busy”. I just can’t fathom his decision when he knows he is the lifeline for DC. Dude you have how many millions of people looking for a job right now…HIRE SOMEONE ffs! Shit I am a pt home based FFL in PA but unemployed from my FT job…hell I would have come help. This was your plan? Make too much money and fold under pressure? If you make appointments for transfers you are NOT that busy…you’re steady. You have ONE customer at a time. You get shipments maybe 3 times a day. Fed ex, ups and some USPS. Kind of makes you wonder why he lost his original lease in 2011 cause he’s clearly a “winner”. 🙄

  • Scott April 24, 2020, 4:00 am

    I’m not quite sure having the police department transfer the firearms is such a good idea. Like it or not our police have been transformed from peace officers to law enforcement officers. There are larger ramifications than just a name change. Their militarization and being ran by political appointees leaves them wide open to political pressure to enforce tyranny. We like to think the boys in blue are our friends because we are the good guys, but we are only the good guys in their eyes until a politician signs an executive order. Don’t believe me? Ask the Louisiana boys if they got their guns back from the Katrina door to door confiscation. Yes it can happen to you.

    • Give Me Liberty April 26, 2020, 8:26 pm

      What can you expect from the District of Columbia? They are full of shameless Constitution stompers and tyrants.

  • Will Drider April 24, 2020, 3:00 am

    This one is truly FUBAR the District created all,on its own. The forced closure by strangling FFLS and customers with bureaucracy. The Districts self governance and strict firearms commerce boarders have left gun buyers high and dry. I really hope they got the BATFE on board but they still need to meet all the Districts B.S laws. Once the outgoing FFL completes final inventory disposition, all his records must be sent to the BATFE Archive.

    I’d sure like to know the process and whose name is on the new/future FFL? Just wait till the first murder weapon is tracked to the MPD FFL.

  • Mark N. April 24, 2020, 1:13 am

    This poses an interesting question: can a police department act as an FFL without being licensed as one? Not that it makes much of a difference; except for the NICS check, the paper work for the 4473 is probably duplicative of what the City requires to register a firearm. And it isn’t as if the City isn’t going to maintain all of that paperwork–forever.

    • Ted April 24, 2020, 8:11 am

      i believe that All depts have an FFL to accept firearms that they issue and hold in inventory. So, all they would have to do is get the NICS part activated so they can fill out a 4473 and have an approval code for the release of he firearm.

      • Paul Lech April 25, 2020, 11:14 am

        This is not so. The dept. has to fill out a 4473 for each firearm they recieve and the head admin. signs the 4473 & any state forms. The NICS is at their figer tips. That is how the check people out when they pull them over. The only differance is they know why people are denied. The criminal history is there. The whos, whats, whens, & whys.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend