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A one-sentence review of Emily Miller’s WaTimes DC-gun-control story

October 7, 2011

Emily Miller’s “Emily Gets Her Gun” series won’t document the District’s obfuscatory and difficult bureaucracy impeding innocent citizens from getting the guns they have a right to own; instead, I imagine it’ll document heroic government workers stopping an unqualified person from getting a gun she probably doesn’t know how to load, much less use safely.

Bonus sentence: Going into the Gun Registry and saying “I’ve heard of a Glock [from] TV” is like going into the DMV and saying “I’ve heard of a Toyota”: neither entitles you to own the device in question, nor can you fault the DMV employees for being annoyed with your lack of research.

Bonus tweet: 

Bonus link: The much, much, much better Washington Post article on the same subject.

Bonus throwing-her-a-bone: At least she’s got some trigger control in those photos…?

UPDATE:  This post written in collaboration with The Drinksnob. He demanded credit, and also scotch. 

  1. Kevin permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:17 am

    Overall, though, that’s not the job of the workers involved.
    Yes, she should get training. Yes, she should be more educated about the details of what she’s trying to do. There’s nothing heroic, though, about any city workers obstructing her efforts to exercise her rights.
    What if this article were instead about her attempt to register to vote? Even if we knew she had no concept of the issues and would vote irresponsibly, should we applaud any obstruction that keeps her from doing so?
    There is no such thing as a person who is “unqualified” to exercise their rights, whether it be voting or firearm ownership. People who have committed a crime may well have their rights limited, but she’s evidently not in that group. There’s no reason to applaud the fact that she is having to jump through these hoops in order to exercise a fundamental right.

    • October 7, 2011 11:40 am

      Heroic may not be the word here, but they’re not at fault either. She reports this as though DC government and its workers are obligated to help her obtain a gun – but they no more obligated than the DMV is to help you pick a car dealer. They cannot prevent her from buying one and then registering it, but they didn’t attempt to do that – she seems to have been given the forms she needed and instructed where to go. Her language and tone, however, suggests she thinks the Gun Registry employee should’ve cheerfully handed over a gun; she’s indignant that there is paperwork! and safety courses! this is too much! But it’s not. There’s a fair bit of case law that suggests enacting barriers to firearms possession – as long as they are not banned entirely – is legal under the Second Amendment (highly recommend Adam Winkler’s Gunfight for more on this). Note the recent ruling upholding DC’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and high-cap magazines.

      And the parallel between voting access and firearms access is a nonstarter for me. Public safety demands votes and gun be treated differently; one vote doesn’t introduce significant potential for violence, but one firearm can be destructive in the wrong hands. I’d argue that Ms. Miller doesn’t know what to do with a gun, and has shown no interest in learning before buying. If she were voting, it’d be one voice among many. If she’s shooting… well.

  2. October 8, 2011 4:36 am

    Davenport’s article is interesting, but it really misses a fundamental point.

    When he asks “Does the gun indeed provide a much-needed layer of security in a dangerous city, or does it merely provide the perception of security?”, he is failing to consider that the key to being well protected is not simply to OWN a gun, but to know how to use one effectively in a self defence scenario. If you’re stupid enough to purchase a firearm, fire it once at the range, and then throw it in the sock drawer next to your bed, there’s a good chance the ‘murdering-rapist crack addict’ can shoot as well (or better, most likely) than you can.

    Practice, practice, practice. Not only does this make you a more effective shooter, it makes you a safer one too.

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