IANAL and I'm admittedly too lazy to go digging through 18 USC 922 for the relevant language of the FOPA '86 but....
Just as a guess I'd say that FOPA forbids the FBI and BATFE from setting up a registry but says nothing about any other political subdivisions such as states, counties, or cities doing so independently. OTOH, the District of Columbia is not an independent political subdivision. It is directly under Congress' authority. So if the FOPA 86 simply has a blanket provision against any such database by the federal government I would agree with you in expectation that D.C.'s registry would violate federal law.
Of course, we've had ample proof that these idiots running the District have little or no regard for the law unless it's to their benefit.
( Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 926 (2) (a)) being: No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary's authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.
While I agree that DC doesn't care, I'm simply amazed at their chutzpa. To be enforcing illegal laws this soon after they have been taken to task is just asking to be beaten up again. The only thing it can accomplish is even fiercer opposition from folks like us. (if such a thing is possible.
Thanks, Strict Constructionist. That is going into my notes and bookmarks. The number of government entities violating that law is probably in the hundreds at least. Of course, many registration laws pre-date the FOPA 86 and would be immune but any passed or modified after that date would apply. Thanks again for the citation.
As for officials breaking the law, it appears to be a constant problem with so-called "authorities" once their Party becomes more or less unbeatable in the elections. Here in Missouri, we had a permit to acquire law in effect for over a hundred years. It spelled out clearly what the sheriff was permitted to ask on the application form. At one time, nearly 1/3 of the sheriffs had added extra, illegal questions and requirements. When I protested to one that he was violating the law, his response, to my face, was, "That may be the way the law reads but that's not how we do it here in ______ county." Think on that for a few seconds: the chief law enforcement officer of that county admitted to me in front of at least three witnesses that the law was not being followed. That widespread abuse of the law was a big help in persuading the State legislature to repeal that law last year, BTW.