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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 For example, the District gives out a (outdated) list of people who can offer the required firearms training.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.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:
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.
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.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.
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.
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."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".
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.
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.