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Gray Has Message For New Retailers Looking At D.C.: No Guns

D.C. residents are allowed to have guns in their homes, but there's nowhere in the city to buy them.
Keith Lafaille: http://www.flickr.com/photos/klafaille/6218726857/
D.C. residents are allowed to have guns in their homes, but there's nowhere in the city to buy them.

Earlier this week, Mayor Vincent Gray returned from the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, an annual soirée where cities and states pitch themselves to national retailers like Walmart and Chipotle, among many others.

"I think there were probably 70 to 80 meetings that were held with various and sundry retailers," he said on Wednesday. "The one thing that was very evident to me was the interest, the demand, the desire to be in the District of Columbia at this point."

But for all that interest, Gray has one message: No guns.

"We're not going to have people here selling guns, that's just not going to happen," said Gray, responding to a question about rumors that outdoors retailer Bass Pro Shop, which sells guns, is interested in D.C.

"No. That's spelled N-O," emphasized Gray on the issue of firearm sales within city limits.

Bass Pro Shop did not respond to multiple requests for comment on their interest in locations within D.C.

There are no gun stores in D.C., and national retailers that sell guns in other states — like Walmart — do not sell firearms in the city.

Even if Bass Pro Shop did want to sell guns, it would have to abide by strict zoning rules that require that any gun shops be at least 300 feet away from residential zones, churches, playgrounds, libraries, and schools. (Here's a map of the few areas in the city where gun stores were be allowed.)

The only means for hopeful gun owners to get their hands on a new firearm is Charles Sykes, a federally licensed firearms dealer. He doesn't sell guns, though, but rather serves as a conduit for dealers to transfer guns into the city. After going out of business in 2011, D.C. moved quickly to allow him to operate out of the Metropolitan Police Department's headquarters.

D.C. has some of the country's strictest gun laws, and last week a federal judge upheld rules limiting what types of guns residents can possess and prohibiting the carrying of guns outside of the home. That case has been appealed.

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