January 06, 2014
A License to What?
By David E. Petzal
“Politics? I didn’t say politics. Politics is the kiss of death for cartoon characters.” —Pogo Possum
And gun writers, too, so I shall do one more and then get back to firearms. But in the meantime …
For the ignorant, the liberal, the half-witted, the oblivious to reality, and many, many editorial writers, one of the favorite cures for gun violence is universal gun owner licensing. “You have to have a license to drive a car,” they bleat, “how can you object to needing a license to own a gun?”
Having recently gotten both a driver’s license and a handgun license, in the words of Jules Winnfield, “Permit me to retort.”
I got the driver’s license in perhaps 15 minutes, counting half of that as wait time. I turned in my old license, declared that I had not killed anyone with a car recently, took an eye exam which showed I had two, and got the new license.
To get a carry permit, I filled out a form (maybe 10 minutes) stating that I had not shot anyone who didn’t deserve it and did not hang around barnyard animals more than was seemly. I attached a copy of my DD 219 (I think) form showing that I had served in the military and knew how to handle firearms, and that was that.
In this state, depending on where you live, you apply for a carry permit either through the state police, in which the process takes 5 months (they’re swamped) or the local police, which takes 2 months. They check that you’re not crazy or criminally inclined and, if you already have a permit, they go to the department that issued it to verify that you indeed held it and that you hadn’t gotten in trouble with the law.
In my case, I got my permit two months to the day after I put in my paperwork. No problems, no hassles, but still not much like 15 minutes, is it?
A friend of mine, however, moved to the same town as I a couple of months later. My friend is a retired attorney who lived in Washington, D.C., and had a handgun registered there and a nonresident carry permit in Virginia. So there were now two departments involved—the Metro Police in D.C., and the Virginia State Police.
The Virginia State Police got back in a more or less timely fashion. It was D.C. Metro that was unable or unwilling to write a letter saying: “This is to verify that so-and-so held registration number thus and such and had no criminal record during their time in this jurisdiction.
I will not weary you with the number of phone calls it took from both my friend and the local police to get a one-sentence letter from the Metro D.C. cops, or the clerical errors which slowed down the process. You who have dealt with the brain-dead at any level of government will be familiar with it.
Five months to the day after the application was filed, my friend got the permit. And this is in a state that is not hostile to gun owners; in fact, quite tolerant of them.
Five months versus fifteen minutes. Anyone out there who has waited five months to get a driver’s license, sing right out.