Washington Times columnist Emily Miller has written a jaw-dropping book about the arduous process required to legally own a gun in our nation’s capital. At first glance, since the cover features Miller in a pink tank top holding her SIG Sauer, it appears to be a basic story about a girl learning to shoot a gun for the first time. It is nothing of the sort. Miller relays going through each and every onerous, tedious requirement Washington, D.C. requires to simply acquire a firearm – and that does not even include carrying a firearm, which is prohibited unless in a box and under limited circumstances. She observes, “there is no other constitutional right that requires American citizens to pass tests to exercise it.”
This book is an eye opener for those of us who do not live in an area with strict gun control laws. In Arizona, which has the least restrictive gun control laws in the country, you can buy a gun from virtually anyone, sometimes instantaneously without a background check, you do not need to register it, and can carry it concealed or unconcealed without a permit.
Miller intersperses her story with a comprehensive update on the latest gun control efforts by the Obama administration, a few state governments, and related legal battles. She provides real statistics related to guns and crime, and contrasts them with liberal hypocrisy. Gun-related murders in the U.S. have decreased almost 40 percent in the last 20 years. Britain, which has strict gun control laws, has few gun-related homicides but a higher violent crime rate than the U.S. Washington, D.C. has in place all the gun control laws that Obama is pushing on the federal level, yet robberies with guns went up 18 percent there in just one year. And, you can bet none of those guns were legally registered under D.C. law.
Miller provides some intriguing insights, such as observing how the Bill Clinton-era “soccer moms” in favor of gun control have turned into 9-11 “security moms,” less interested in gun control. The last third of the book contains a few egregious stories of American war veterans who have been put through hell and back for alleged small infractions of D.C.’s gun laws.
Emily Miller is surprisingly humble, considering the success she’s had as a young, talented writer for theWashington Times. She is unashamed to reveal her shortcomings, and has a delightful sense of humor, which leaves the reader in stitches at times. After narrowing down her choice of a handgun to just a handful, she decided to put the finalists on The Washington Times website and let readers vote on which gun she should select. As a joke, she included the Hi-Point 9mm, a cheap pistol known as a “Saturday-night special.” It came in dead last with only two votes.
She throws in a few insightful things specific to women that make this a must-read for any female gun owner or woman considering learning how to shoot. Since women are generally smaller and not as strong as men, shooting can be more difficult.
It took Miller four months to get a gun permit, which included taking off four working days, and cost her $435 in fees. She determined it would take a whopping 17 steps in order to get her permit. There is only one licensed gun dealer in all of D.C., a black man named Charles Sykes. He doesn’t even sell guns, he just serves as the legal pass-through. Without him, there would be no way to obtain a handgun permit in all of Washington, D.C. Since handguns became legal in 2009, only 4,634 have been legalized in the entire city.
In contrast, her co-worker Richard Diamond told her one morning before their weekly meeting that he was buying a gun before the meeting – he could have the entire purchase completed that morning because he lived just across the Potomac River in Virginia and was buying the gun there.
The Language of Gun Control
The left and its comrades in the liberal news media use all kinds of semantics to sow confusion among the public about firearms. Miller’s exposé on the misleading terms used by the gun control crowd and the liberal media is thorough and up-to-date. A common deceitful tactic used is confusing semi-automatic weapons with automatic weapons, the latter which have been generally banned since 1934.
Miller goes over the term “assault weapon” and how its meaning has been made up, distorted, and brandished repeatedly in order to confuse people into thinking rifles are really fully automatic military weapons. One of the most irritating assertions is that AR-15s are “military-style assault weapons.” Miller refutes this, “Actually we don’t send our men and women into war with only semi-automatic rifles.” She goes over the statistics of guns used in crimes, and reveals that AR-15s are rarely used in homicides, handguns are far more common.
“High-capacity magazine” is just another phrase meant to scare people. “If you walked into a gun store and asked for a high-capacity magazine, you’d be met with blank stares.” In reality, when the state of New York banned “high-capacity magazines,” allowing only 7 rounds or less in a magazine, it made no sense and the law had to be revised later. Most pistols hold 12 to 19 cartridges in the magazine; seven isn’t even close to the minimum.
The left likes to throw around the phrase “cop-killer bullets.” In reality, armor-piercing bullets have been banned under federal law for over 25 years. “Stockpiling ammunition” is another invalid criticism, since “an avid shooter can easily go through over a thousand rounds at the range in a single weekend.” Miller decimates the criticism against the “gun show loophole.” The reality is, almost all dealers at gun shows are already required to perform background checks, and less than one percent of criminals say they got their weapon from a gun show.
The Gun Control Lobby
The Brady Campaign, named after President Reagan’s press secretary, Jim Brady, who was shot and permanently disabled in the assassination attempt on the president, used to be the preeminent gun control organization in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Today, it is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.” His group has a lot of money and always hits the media airwaves with spin against guns – not the criminals – immediately after a tragic school shooting.
Miller profiles what happened to First Lieutenant Augustine Kim, a veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan. He was transporting unloaded firearms through D.C. when he was stopped by D.C. police. They arrested him for violating the gun registration law. However, he was not a resident of D.C., so did not fall under those laws. He went through an arduous process fighting the charges to get them dropped. It took him two years to get his guns back and they were disrespectfully marked up with etchings from the police.
In contrast, liberal media anchor David Gregory of NBC flagrantly brandished an illegal 30-round magazine on camera in D.C., yet the D.C. police did not arrest him. The police even informed him ahead of time that it was a crime.
Perhaps the most outrageous fact revealed in the book is that federal firearms prosecutions under Obama have decreased. In January 2011, there were fewer prosecutions than anytime within the past 10 years. Miller speculates, “I believe he is doing this on purpose, to bolster support for more gun control laws.”
The good news about Miller publicizing the ridiculous gun registration process in Washington, D.C. is it resulted in some of the regulations being changed, shortening the process. She also got the chairman of the D.C. City Council to send a stern letter to the D.C. Chief of Police, telling her to fix all of her documents and train her force in the correct transport laws, so the department would stop arresting innocent gun owners.
Despite the outrageous stories Miller reveals, the liberals in government aren’t getting very far with gun control these days. There are more gun owners and firearms in the U.S. than ever before. A quarter of a century ago, 21 states prohibited all carry rights. Today, every state recognizes the right to bear arms outside the home. It’s no longer just older white males purchasing guns; gun purchasers are in their 30s, almost half are women and ethnically diverse. As Miller puts it, “The truth is that the 100 million gun owners in America are among the most responsible, patriotic, family-oriented citizens in our nation.”
Reprinted from the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research