Some In D.C. Ready To Pull Trigger On Owning Gun Some D.C. residents and entrepreneurs are eager to take a shot at owning a gun or gun shop. Officials, however, continue to address the ricochet effects of the recent Supreme Court decision on the city's handgun ban.
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Some In D.C. Ready To Pull Trigger On Owning Gun

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Some In D.C. Ready To Pull Trigger On Owning Gun

Some In D.C. Ready To Pull Trigger On Owning Gun

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

History can come at you fast. That's the case with the recent Supreme Court ruling. The court found that the Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to own a gun. Washington, D.C. is scrambling in its aftermath. The court struck down the district's ban on hand guns.

In a moment, we'll hear from a D.C. council member trying to come up with a new law. But first, to the streets of Washington, where many residents don't want guns sold or stored in the city.

As NPR's Libby Lewis reports, some do.

LIBBY LEWIS: Tyrone Smith grew up in D.C. He's a bike courier, and he's thinking of getting a gun now to protect him and his wife in the southeast part of the city.

Mr. TYRONE SMITH (Bike courier): There's a lot of crime, a lot of violence in the District, especially around the areas that I live in. Everybody have a right to protect their self, you know what I mean. And D.C. took that right from us when they took - enforced their gun ban.

Sharon Boesen thinks the same thing. Having a gun at home...

Ms. SHARON BOESEN: That is a basic right as an American.

LEWIS: She shared her views publicly, and she's gotten blasted online by some gun opponents.

Ms. BOESEN: Some of the people, the bloggers have complained, you know, referred to me as Frau Boesen and, you know, a redneck.

LEWIS: She's a wife and mother of four, whose home on Capitol Hill has been broken into twice by burglars - both times her family was home. Nobody got hurt, but she and her husband have been talking about getting a handgun just in case. Boesen grew up in a family with guns at home.

Ms. BOESEN: My father was a customs inspector. And when I was in elementary school, he would take me to the firing range and I would bring my targets in for show and tell.

LEWIS: She's comfortable with the idea of teaching her children about firearms safety - just as she was taught.

Thirty miles outside the District, in a world away in Virginia, clerk Marc Warner is showing a customer the Blue Ridge arsenal, a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Mr. MARC WARNER: I like the full 5H model, a little bit more accurate for target shooting.

LEWIS: Co-owner Deborah Curtis says D.C. residents often come out to rent a gun and use the range. You can hear them firing even in her back office. And since the court ruling, her shop, like other gun shops in the region, has gotten calls from D.C. citizens who want to buy a gun now.

Ms. DEBORAH CURTIS: You know, I think the most important thing for people to understand is it's a complex issue. It's not like opening a bagel shop.

LEWIS: Boy, is that the truth. The city's mayor and city council are wrestling with that truth right now. In the meantime, the city has set up a hotline to answer some basic questions.

Unidentified Man: Thank you for calling the Metropolitan Police Department firearm registration and information hotline. At this time, the Metropolitan Police Department will now start registering eligible handguns until July 17th.

LEWIS: Right now, there's nowhere to buy a gun in D.C. and no place for citizens to practice shooting here. There's no zoning category that would allow such a place.

Allan Lucas, among others, wants nothing more than to help the city out. He was a long-time D.C. police officer. Now, he runs a security business, and he's licensed by the city as a certified firearms instructor. But he has nowhere in the city he can take his students to practice.

In his van, we ride out to one of the sites he'd love to turn into a small gun shop and range in the city. He's been trying to do this for three years.

Mr. ALLAN LUCAS (Certified Firearms Instructor): I found this little place because I thought about it - and if you can look around, at least 500 feet away from any residential and has no walk traffic whatsoever. Really, there's no reason to come back here.

LEWIS: When Lucas looks out over this empty lot and warehouses, he sees a modular, soundproof, bulletproof building, a quiet, friendly place with lots of security and respect.

Mr. LUCAS: I can envision the gun store and the office where they can come in and register for the classes, waiting area - I can see it.

LEWIS: City officials will have to figure out what they can see and how to balance the court's ruling with the wishes of the citizenry that mostly disapproves of guns. The big question is, how far can the city go in its restrictions without drawing more lawsuits in the name of self-defense?

Libby Lewis, NPR News, Washington.

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