Mr. Sykes does not sell guns, but on Tuesday he is expected to become the only federally licensed dealer in Washington to serve as the transfer agent for the carefully controlled transactions that will put guns in the hands of district residents.
There are no gun stores here, and a resident who buys a gun elsewhere must have the weapon shipped to a licensed dealer in the district. Mr. Sykes’s permit will allow him to receive the weapon and, for a transaction fee of $125, he will ensure that the requisite paperwork is prepared for approval by federal and district officials before handing over the weapon to its new owner.
Mr. Sykes has been handling this kind of transaction since 1994 for security firms, police officers and the like. His enterprise, CS Exchange Limited and located in the southeast Washington neighborhood of Anacostia, is not listed in the telephone book, and he does not advertise. But his name is commonly known in local gun circles, and he can be found on the Internet.
Mr. Sykes said his firearms work was a sideline — he would not name his full-time employer — and he had no thoughts of selling guns.
“I don’t know of any firearms dealer in the greater metropolitan area that hasn’t been broken into,” he said. “I don’t want the headache of having to secure a stockpile of weapons.”
There may be a few other holders of federal firearms licenses in the city, but according to the police, he will soon be the only one to offer this service.
There was a surge of people contacting him after the Supreme Court’s ruling, but Mr. Sykes said some people had lost interest upon learning how long it was taking him to receive the necessary approval. As of Tuesday, however, if all goes according to plan, a resident of the District of Columbia who purchases a gun should expect to receive the weapon within three weeks of purchase.
Mr. Sykes relocated his business in February; the new location was certified by the federal firearms agency in July. He applied for an annual license from the District Police Department, and that is the license he should receive Tuesday, said Traci Hughes, a police spokeswoman.
At that point, prospective new gun owners will for the first time be able to obtain weapons from out of state and have them duly licensed in the district.
Mr. Sykes said that so far only about 10 district residents had approached him for the transfer of newly purchased weapons. Still, there are indications that business may pick up eventually.
Dale Metta, the manager of Atlantic Guns in nearby Silver Spring, Md., said he had received “lots of interest from D.C. residents, but the problem has been that Mr. Sykes was not yet ready for business.”
Mr. Metta said in the weeks after the Supreme Court’s ruling he received at least 10 visits a day from Washington residents interested in buying a gun.
Also, the District Police Department has provided 412 firearms applications to the public, Ms. Hughes said.
Mr. Sykes, meanwhile, is counseling patience. “You’ve waited for 33 years,” he said. “What is another month or two?”