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I appreciate Emily’s Miller’s determination to secure a legal firearm in post-Heller decision Washington, D.C. If anyone should be thrilled about Ms. Miller’s ballistic blogging at it should be us. But reading Emily’s saga has been about as exciting as watching dry paint dry some more. Alternatively, you could say it’s been as dull as the bureaucracy that Ms. Miller surmounted to finally pick-up her pistol. Not to mention the self-congratulatory bits . . .

“When I first started the “Emily Gets Her Gun” series, I thought  I would be waiting in long lines and filling out lots of paperwork. I never could have imagined that the D.C. gun laws made it so unearthly difficult to get a legal handgun. However, I also never could have believed that this newspaper series would encourage change in Washington’s gun laws.”

Yes, well, Emily may have shamed the bureaucracy into become marginally more efficient, but the number of hoops, the prohibitive expense and the mind-numbing monotony of the District’s legal firearms acquisition process remains the same. Just like Chicago, D.C. has created a de facto ban on the exercise of a Constitutional right.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Emily may have her gun, but the people who really need one don’t have theirs. Nothing much has changed when a college-educated white middle-class inside-the-Beltway journo can get a gun—and an African American mother trying to raise her kids next to crack house has about as much chance of obtaining a legal firearm in the District of Columbia as Huey Newton. Who is dead, by the way.

I know that every American has the same right to keep and bear arms. But this “all about me” newspaper series defends rather than extends that right. It is what it is, but I’m wistful about what it could have been.

Now can we have a series about buying an illegal gun in the nation’s capital? What’s that like?

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  1. To be fair there is no classist agenda in this story.D.C. is opposed to any civilian owning firearms regardless of creed or socio-economic status.If it is anything like Chicagostan the liberal elite would disarm the POLICE if they could avoid the negative PR ratings.If Washington D.C. goes to this much trouble to prevent people from buying guns,I can only imagine the horror poor Emily would endure if she actually uses her Sig in a shots fired defensive situation at home.Massad Ayoob’s number should be in her speed dial just in case,because any DGU in D.C. will be worthy of a ‘Gravest Extreme’ sequel.

    • The lack of a class or race agenda in this series is a non-agenda agenda, if you know what I mean. If not, I’ll simply say I’m amazed that Emily would go through the entire process without once mentioning how an “ordinary” D.C. resident would fare.

      • Actually, if you bothered to fully read her articles, you’d see that she mentioned more than once that she has a decent paying job and since she was doing the articles for work, could afford to take multiple days off work – but that most people in the city don’t get that luxury or have the money to pay $500 in registration fees.

        You’re starting to sound like Al Sharpton, trying to fabricate racist motivations where none exist.

        • Agreed. Miss Miller’s series served a useful purpose in demonstrating the ridiculous hurdles EVEN FOR a middle-class journalist documenting the process for a newspaper. I do not think she was representing her stories and experiences as anything other than that.

          Would it be nice if she followed up with stories along the lines of those suggested by Mr. Farago? Sure. But that doesn’t diminish the value of what she did write about — a little sunlight on idiotic bureaucracy is often the best disinfectant.

        • i think RF is alluding to a larger point. which is that DC is set up to cater to certain types of Americans better than others. That is not acting like Rev. Al, that is point out reality. Drawing attention to disparities and differences in access to services as a result of appearance, or tax bracket is not racist, nor is mentioning it in the context to a larger problem in an area where people of any color can get access to firearms on either side of the city, i know because this is where is live.

          my first job out of undergrad was a case manager at a halfway house in SE. Want to know what one of the most common charges i ran across? illegal possession of a firearm. There are illegal gun all across this city and people use them.

      • I would rather have Ms. Miller write this series than not. I don’t look a gift horse (or a beautiful female) in the mouth.

    • Disarming the police would be the one gun control measure I could get behind. Armed government thugs are more of a danger to society than anyone else.

      • Let the people at the top lead by example – disarm the SS and the federal alphabet soup, the State and local police. Let the politicians use a cell phone like they want us to do. Let them show to us that they are safer than we are withoyut the guns that we pay for to protect them.

  2. Robert,

    Small points: if reference is to Black Panther Bobby Seale (with “e”), I think he’s still above ground. In any event, I agree that his ability to get a legal gun in D.C. would be slim, especially given his history.

    • God I HATE it when that happens. You think, “Who was that guy again? Oh yeah, Bobby Seale.” And you wonder if you should Google it. And then you don’t. And then you regret it.

      Let’s go with Huey Newton. Text amended. And on the positive side, I’ve already taken my Ambien. So I won’t remember any of this. Until I read the comment.

  3. “Now can we have a series about buying an illegal gun in the nation’s capital? What’s that like?”

    Just picked one up. Here’s your series. Walked down to the local corner, said I needed a heater, got one for about a retail price. I was disappointed, though, it didn’t come with ammo. Will have to make another stop real quick. J/K, or am I?

    Seriously, in other news:
    D.C. has passed a bill that requires all news articles to first be submitted for approval to the newly created “office of information management”. At a press conference (that you should be reading about in 10 – 33 days), the Mayor was overheard saying that later this year, they’ll be requiring a test on Election Laws. Before anyone is allowed to vote, D.C. citizens must take the required 5 hour class on how to properly operate a voting machine. Classes are scheduled to begin this October, in Florida

  4. Personally, I enjoyed her series as it pointed out to a much larger viewing public the outrageous lengths politicians will go to impede the exercise of a constitutional right. The bureaucracy and the forms was unbelievable–and a lot of people in DC will probably think so too. By the by, it is NOT harder to get a handgun in California than in DC. There is only one form, plus a test for a “handgun safety certificate”. There’s a statutory transfer fee, the HSC fee and taxes, nothing else. Other than the 10 day wait and a 1 handgun per month limitation on purchases. There is no visit to the police-everything is accomplished at your friendly FFL. No fingerprints, no mandatory class. Long arms don’t require the HSC. And curious, relics, and most blackpowder guns don’t require anything at all.
    Then there is Chicago, and although Chicago seems to roll over when challenged, its restrictions seem as sticky as DC’s.

    • Then there’s the United States, where you can just walk down to the store, say “I want that one”, spend 30 seconds filling out a form, 30 seconds checking with NICS, then you hand over the money and be on your merry way. 🙂

        • That’s likely due to the fact that you don’t have a criminal record or some other reason that would prevent you from obtaining a firearm. If you do have a criminal record…well, let’s just say it’s probably gonna take a bit longer to get that gun.

      • Then there’s the republic as designed, where you walk into a store, say “I want that one”, plunk down $60 for the 1911, and walk out. (My Dad’s experience in 1966)

        It’s just a tool, folks. Would we be okay with forms and background checks for buying a circular saw?

        • Yes, I remember fondly the handgun counter in the local Montgomery Wards. Those were the days, odd though, not much violent gun use, at least in the DC area. I remember watching some of the old Warner Brothers TV series, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, if there was any gun play in the story, it was usually a single shot from a snubby, or someone got clobbered over the head by one.

  5. I think Robert is being a bit tough on Emily. She put herself out publicly doing something a large number of DC residents are adamantly against doing. She might have the cushion of being paid to do some of the legwork and can probably write the expense off her taxes since she did a story on it, but the saga does offer useful information to others that decide to buy a firearm. How else would anyone know what to do, DC isn’t helping much.
    Besides, she’s pretty cute and now she’s armed.

  6. “Now can we have a series about buying an illegal gun in the nation’s capital? What’s that like?”

    She actually mentioned it in a couple of her articles that it would only take about 5 min and much less money to get one off a street corner. In her most recent article even she says,

    “The bad guys buy guns off the street in five minutes, and the city has no record of the transaction. Law-abiding citizens have to take a five-hour class that is only taught outside of the District, pay $465 in fees, sign six forms, pass a written test on gun laws, get fingerprinted, be subject to a police ballistics test and take days off work.

    Five minutes and no fees for an illegal gun. Weeks and almost $500 in fees for a legal gun. Which option do you think most people in this city are choosing?”

    She may not have an article or series solely dedicated to how easy it is to get a gun illegally in DC, but she has discussed it.

    • I want to know more about D.C.’s illegal gun trade for [otherwise] law-abiding citizens. How do they get them? Where do they keep them? Do they carry them? What guns? What calibers? What price? How many? What does the community (including church leaders) think about it? What do the cops think about it? I want to follow THOSE guns. That’s where the 2A rubber meets the obstructionist road. Or something like that.

      • Participating in a news story is a very high risk proposition for that otherwise law-abiding citizen. Even if the journalist promises confidentiality, there’s no guarantee that the promise can be kept. Most of those people just want to keep their heads down, go to work, feed their families, and got the gun to protect them against crime. Which they’d be able to do legally in most places. In any case, the last thing they want is to draw attention to themselves.

    • I can see the delema of facing a situation where the crack house down the block getting worse, you (or your wife, or your kid) have just been assaulted verbally while walking home from the bus stop today for the 4th time by the same guy, and today’s threat included the brandishing of a knife, because he is tired of seeing you on his turf. Wait weeks for a legal gun that will cost you half a month’s rent just in fees, or have one in your belt for tomorrow?

  7. Phil Mendelson really worked her over testifying in front of DC city council. He kept referring to “Market” as the solution to problems when he knows there is no market to speak of and they have restrictions that make any market impossible.
    None of these council members believe in self defense, probably because they live in safe neighborhoods, clearly because they created this morass of processes to discourage the legal possession of handguns in the District. None of these rules has any effect on illegal possession of firearms and they know it. The final strike is the failure to protect the residents with enough police presence and punishment for offenders, so many get away or are released on parole it’s a sin.

    • Your second paragraph aptly describes the naive reasoning behind our “leaders” in many areas (both philosophically and geographically).

  8. Mr. Farago,

    I think its sad that you find it necessary to nit-pick Ms. Miller’s fine work.
    Calling her “self congratulatory” and putting in bits like this “But this “all about me” newspaper series defends rather than extends that right.” makes you look like a jerk.

    She went thru months of work, driving here-there-and-everywhere, paying hundreds of dollars and taking days off work and then documenting and writing about it it for all the world to see.

    Then, she went to testify before the city’s elected officials and she repeatedly mentioned how difficult this process would be for someone of limited means. She confronted and spared with professional politicians and laid bare the stupidity of the process.

    She is a fine ambassador for peoples 2nd amendment rights and she has done a Lot for the people of the District with this series.

    It’s easy to criticize, its harder to actually act. She acted. What have you done today other than criticize her work?

    • Packed my daughter’s lunch and drove her to school. Walked the dogs. The usual stuff.

      I know Emily’s heart was in the right place. I know the series exposed important issues around gun ownership (or lack thereof) in D.C. But I stand by my analysis. YMMV. Obviously.

  9. I really liked this series of articles. This is what MikeB wants, this is what “reasonable” gun control looks like folks. Don’t give the gun control nuts one inch, they will take a mile.

  10. I thought Ms. Miller did a fine job and yeoman’s work. Occasionally, I found myself dragged in to her sense of frustration and, at times, I was much angrier than she at the govt stupidity. As a result of her work, I learned something, corrupt govt was exposed, and other DC residents can now be better prepared for the process. Some may even be inspired to fight the govt horse hockey another day. I hope she stays safe and never has to pull the trigger in fear. She’s given me an even deeper appreciation of freedom. I’d be self-congratulatory, too, if I would have endured all that BS and came out on top.

  11. Other have offered the same sentiment but I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in my two-cents.

    Writing what you wrote shows that you (Robert) did not bother to read any of Emily’s reports, or view her testimony to the D.C. council. In both she referenced the high costs of getting a licence and that even for her (someone with a good job, etc.) it was difficult to part with the cash.

    She has also said, multiple times, that while she is glad that her reports have caused change (like getting the police to post an updated trainers list) she’s not done. While we have to take her on her word at this point–she has said that she intends to continue to push to change the laws in DC to make it easier, cheaper and faster for residents to get licensed.

    If it wasn’t despicable it might be cute that you think you are in a position to criticize what she has done and is doing when you clearly have not a damn clue what your talking about.

    What have you done that has brought the attention, and change (small as it may be at this point) that Miller has?

    Note: This comment is critical of Robert Fargo. For this reason it will probably be deleted.

    • Note: This comment is critical of Robert Fargo. For this reason it will probably be deleted.

      Since I read your comment, I think it’s fair to say that you’re no Edgar Cayce.

      • @Ralph

        If you knew me you’d know how insulting it is that you compare me to a psychic scam artist.

        Anyway, my comment was deleted and only reappeared after I e-mailed Robert asking if deleting my comments outright was the new status quo.


        Robert allows anti-gun people to freely comment, and even post full editorials here on TTAG. He even links to their sites…

        Robert deletes or otherwise obfuscates anything that is critical of him, his authors, or TTAG.

        Interesting no?

  12. Now can we have a series about buying an illegal gun in the nation’s capital? What’s that like?

    Did anybody see the MSNBC web feature today on how easy it is to buy a gun on FTF sales? Even if you proclaim you are a criminal ( as Rosen stated he was ) a gun was still sold to him. I have a question for TTAGers; if you misrepresent yourself even in a FTF sale, is it a felony? Did Rosen commit a felony as posing as someone who could not pass a background check?

    • “…if you misrepresent yourself even in a FTF sale, is it a felony?”

      I’m not an attorney or LEO but, it is my understanding that a convicted felon is not legally allowed to own a firearm. So, it wouldn’t be the misrepresentation that is the felony, it would be the possession of the firearm.

      As for telling someone you’re a criminal when you’re not, I don’t think that’s illegal. Rappers do it all the time, you know. It’s called posturing. But the guy who sells a gun to someone who proclaims himself to be a felon might be in a world of hurt if the buyer really is a felon.

      I did not see the MSNBC piece–I don’t indulge in MSNBC at all.

  13. SDOG: It isn’t clear what point you were making with the ” Want to know what one of the most common charges i ran across? illegal possession of a firearm. There are illegal gun all across this city and people use them.” comment. Until just recently EVERY gun in DC except for the Government’s were illegal so it’s not surprising that there were a lot of charges for illegal guns. In every case where the only charge was possession the charge was Unconstitutional and the person charged should be able to sue the city for violation of their civil rights.


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