Friday, November 29, 2013

A holiday gift for your anti-gun friends: Emily Gets Her Gun

Image via Amazon
This book has two purposes.  The first is to show the thicket of nonsensical gun laws currently on the books, that get in the way of ordinary people who want to buy a gun to protect themselves and their families.  Emily Miller - a Senior Editor at the Washington Times - is one of these people.  She had never shot a gun, and found herself trying to navigate the legal labyrinth of Washington D.C.'s crazy firearms restrictions.  She came to this as a newbie, who had never been involved with this sort of thing and indeed had no idea what she was getting into.

The second purpose is to describe the political landscape of 2013 regarding firearms laws, and in particular the Congressional battles over proposed new gun control statutes in the wake of the Sandy Hook, CT shootings.  In this, she is a seasoned veteran of the political give-and-take, having made her career on Capitol Hill.

These two stories are well told, and interleaved throughout the book.  The two stories are both useful for your anti-gun friends, but probably not at the same time.  However, giving them this book will open their eyes, and maybe open them a second time.

Most people don't have strong feelings one way or another, either pro-gun or anti-gun.  This is preyed upon by the gun control lobby, using terms like "common sense gun control" because it sounds so, well, reasonable.  Ms. Miller's book is an excellent counter to this.  For example, she points out that there are no gun stores in the District because the government will not grant any a license, and that Federal law criminalizes buying a gun in a different State.

Cool "common sense", huh?

And so into the Never Neverland that is the legal way for a citizen to purchase a firearm in Washington D.C.   She recounts how the system is set up, and brings a useful perspective to those who would like to convince others that the current laws are anything but common sense.  For example, the District gives out a (outdated) list of people who can offer the required firearms training.  Most do this from their homes, and this made her nervous:
The [D.C.] police officer said claimed that it didn't matter that the instructors' addresses weren't on the list because they would be teaching the class at a shooting range.  Then why did they all say I had to meet at their houses?  He didn't know.


While I was glad to learn that these men had been given a criminal background check at some point as of 2009, I still didn't feel safe going to any of their houses.

In the whole four months that I went through the gun registration process, this was the only time that I wanted to give up on the idea.  I couldn't find any way to take this mandatory class in a way that didn't scare me.
A "common sense" law that makes it so that a woman have to meet strange men in strange places, or not be allowed to get a gun to protect herself.  The book is filled with examples like this, for example when she filled out the application for a gun permit:
You're also deemed ineligible if you've been convicted of "vagrancy."  I'm not sure why hanging around the 7-Eleven parking lot too long makes you unqualified to have a gun.

For the next question, I had to go back to Google again, this time to figure out what "abrogating strikes" meant.  I went through three pages of search results, and I still don't know.
But you have to sign your name that the information you provide is accurate, under penalty of perjury.   Remember that perjury is a felony, which results in you losing your right to own a gun.

This laying out of the hurdles that must be jumped will be eye opening for people new to this topic.  In fact, this story is entirely toxic to the very claim of "common sense" gun control: none of this is common sense, and it's obvious to all readers that the legal system is quite frankly insanity.

However, it seems that the second story told in the book - of 2013's gun control battles on Capitol Hill - will get in the way of this first message.  I would suggest telling your friend to just skip over the parts about the gun control politics and the NRA, and read through Ms. Miller's epic journey through the bureaucracy.  Once your reader finishes that, the notion of "reasonable gun control" will very likely be a smoking ruin.

Then have them go back and read the politics, because then they'll know how to see the sausage being made.  Rather than injecting some badly needed common sense into the law code, the story of 2013 was more of the same stupid, useless restrictions cloaked in high minded blatherings to fool people not in the know.  Of course by this point your friend will be very much in the know indeed, and will be able to see this for what it was.

Of course, it might not convince them, but it will educate them.  The most compelling parts of the book are when she describes honest people caught in the web of unknowable gun control laws.  And while she now can have a gun in her house, it is illegal to carry a gun to protect yourself when you leave.  She describes her feelings in an incident after she already had her gun but had to leave it home:
A strange man at my apartment building, who turned out to be a non-uniformed mover who was working for a neighbor, took violent offense when I closed the propped-open security door of the apartment building.  I stood in the lobby of my building, where I was not allowed to carry my gun, and was terrified as he violently banged on the glass door, screaming, "What the f--- you doing?  You f---ing bitch open the door.  I'm going to get you, you f---ing bitch."

No one else was around, and I was scared that if I left the lobby, someone would let him in and he'd carry out his threats.  I called 911.  I waited exactly fifteen minutes, but he had not stopped screaming and trying to get into the building.  I called 911 again.  The police finally showed up twenty minutes after the incident started.
It's "common sense" that a man who moves furniture for a living will be much larger and stronger than a woman who works at a white collar job.  "Common sense" says that it evens the odds, allowing her have a gun to defend herself against a man like that making threats against her.  "Common sense" says that putting a myriad obstacles in her way (the Washington D. C. licensing procedure involves seventeen steps and took her four months to complete) will keep her from being able to do that.  You might even call it a "War On Women".
Meanwhile, the city is swimming in illegal guns.  Remember, according to the police department's own data, assaults with a firearm increased 12 percent from 2011 to 2012.
So get this for your anti-gun friends.  Not to convert them and convince them to become gun owners, but to shatter the mirage of "common sense" marketing of ideas that are anything but.  The stories of Emily Gets Her Gun are intertwined with the efforts to keep her from getting her gun.  These twinned stories will change their view of the honesty - or dishonesty - of the political debate.  That's something very much to be thankful for.


libertyman said...

That book is on my wish list, she has done everyone a service by writing it.

Anonymous said...

While not in as crazy of a state, we just recently had a moment of "and this is why gun control laws are stupid". My spouse's father has decided to buy us a pistol for the holidays. He lives out of state. Federal law makes it illegal for him to transfer the gun to us without going through an FFL. State law makes it illegal for the FFL to transfer the gun to us without a purchase permit. To get the purchase permit, we need to go to the sheriff's office in person, down town, week days only, during business hours (because no one works for a living) fill out an application for and then pay for a purchase permit. Then 8-10 business days later, assuming we don't get a letter in the mail telling us we're denied, we have to then go back to the sheriff's office, in person to pick up the permits. Only then can we legally obtain our holiday gift, and we're lucky we don't live in the next county over where we would need to bring two unrelated character witnesses to sign affidavits to get my permit.

And yet, we could just go to his home, he could hand us the gun and we could drive home. No one would know and the chances of anyone ever finding out are slim to none. But we won't. We'll jump through the hoops, we'll beg for our biscuits like good dogs, and we'll do it because as my spouse said "we want to do it legally". Because we aren't criminals. Yet just a couple weeks ago, a little girl was killed by an AD when she found a loaded gun that her father, a felon on probation had obtained illegally. Hoops and dances for the law abiding, while the criminals continue to be criminals.

Chris said...

I provided enough stories similar to yours and Emily's to a liberal at my previous job, that he stopped using the phrase "common sense". He was a gun owner, he just didn't trust other people who weren't liberals with guns.

Alan said...

And despite all that she recently advocated reauthorizing the anti-plastic gun law.

Because, you know, banning things makes them not exist...

Texas TopCat said...

The "anti-plastic" gun law is not quite as simple as it would seem. As always the devil is in the details. The dems have included magazines and some other gun parts in the law that they want as the replacement. Reps do not have the votes to stop the law, Reps are supporting a clean, no change in existing law renewal for 5 or 10 years.

EMS Artifact said...

I got this book for me. It's still in the Amazon box waiting for me to find time to read it. I think it will be next after Clayton Cramer's Armed America.