Emily Gets Her Gun: blog about getting a gun in DC

An ongoing series of articles about the hoops someone trying to legally own a gun in Washington DC has to go through. You don’t have to be pro-firearm to appreciate Emily’s bureaucratic ordeal: http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/guns/

There’s an official department in Hell where you can apply for a visa to leave Hell- provided your paperwork is in order. I hope that’s where all the bureaucrats go.

What a great series.

It lays out the labyrinthian mess involved with excercising a constitutional right, and the response from the DC government is either indifference (with the benefit of the doubt) or subtle joy at the difficulties.

I guess you’re right - I’m not pro-firearm and I do appreciate DC’s regulations. :smiley:

I think it is interesting to show how difficult it is to register a legal weapon in DC, but holy cow are those articles poorly written. It’s just a big load of nouns, verbs and adjectives plopped down on a page with so little regard for clearly organizing thoughts or making coherent points in each article. It is almost a miracle that the series has been milked out for so many articles with so few interesting insights. (And I’m not even going to mention those laughable photos of the pink-tank topped editor posing with guns!)

What the DC bureaucracy is to government, the Washington Times is to journalism.

I liked the bit where she visited the NRA shooting range, and Chris Cox brought up the idea of the NRA offering the DC-approved course, possibly for free. That would make some heads explode.

It started off interesting, pointing out how many forms she had to fill out, the weirdness of having to ship your gun through one specific person, the out of date information, etc.

But it petered out pretty quickly, I thought. It seems like she ran out of interesting criticisms to make, so she had to resort to exaggerating pretty minor problems (“There aren’t many firing ranges close to the subway!”) or adding filler (“Hey, I took a tour of a gun factory!”). Yawn.

I think “To own a gun in Washington D.C., you’re required to take a Washington D.C. approved safety class, which, by law, may not be taught in Washington D.C.” is a pretty major issue.

And she’s still not home free. She’s at the point now where she had to pass the background check and all that to get the gun that she’s already paid for.

Being forced to travel to the suburbs for the class is worth noting, I agree. But that’s good for one interesting blog post at best. Stretching out her gun class experiences over several posts was a bit dull, IMO. YMMV, of course.

I was responding to your claim that it was a “minor” problem. It strikes me as the kind of petty BS that governments throw out there just to make things more aggravating for gun owners. ETA: I’m not personally opposed to requiring first time gun owners to take a safety class. I just think it should be what it claims to be - a way to make sure people are aware of the rules & laws of gun ownership - and not just another obstacle to get people to give up.

It is pretty cool for her that her articles got her a trip to the Beretta factory and the NRA range, but as you say, that has nothing to do with the actual process she’s going through.


This kind of red tape is meant to be reserved for immigrants, poor people trying to vote, and would-be gay-marriers! Not white, upper-middle-class conservatives!! :mad:

I think this needs a little bit of context, though. While I understand that this hassle is dictated by policy and not necessity, DC residents have to leave DC if they wish to buy a new car, go to an airport, do some furniture shopping, or do a bunch of other things. As a DC resident, the fact that we occasionally have to go to the suburbs to do things is a fairly weak complaint in my book.

True all the way around, but if the District of Columbia outsources government requirements to neighboring states, it can create a bit of a problem with their argument for statehood, IMHO.

Emily’s experience would be no more arduous than for the major countries of the commonwealth, where she might also require references, buying a gun safe, or special endosements for her license. In NZ, UK and Aus, purchase of this kind of gun would be virtually impossible for her. In NZ the ‘self-defence’ reason is explictly invalid.

The only part of the process I think is slack is the police’s poor list of safety classes. However the second ‘washington DC gun safety classes’ result on google is a DC certified school.

Anyone who jumps through all the DC hoops will be a reasonably safe gun owner. Can you say that about the states with lighter controls?

Oh the USA government and state governments are rank amatuers at obstructive bureaucracy, if you think the articles are bad LOL.

In countries with a wink wink culture of corruption try an average of five years to get a passport, with some requirements impossible to fulfill. Try everyday things everyone has to go through having impossible to fulfill requirements, the only possible way to do it is to PAY someone in power to make an exception for you or know someone. Life is impossible without knowing someone.

Its worse when you’re a foreigner, because no one is willing to explain to you what to do. Is this a situation where I go through the process? Or is this a situation where its pointless and the only way through is to know someone or pay a bribe? If you’re lucky someone might drop some hints like “why are you still here:cool:” you can decipher.

Anyway back to your usual programming.

I agree. My point was this seems no harder than getting a passport, purchasing a house, or a pilots licence or HT licence. What’s the big deal? A semi-auto handgun is a serious purchase.

Yes. Contrary to popular opinion, the number of firearms-related deaths are miniscule when juxtaposed with the number of guns owned by citizens. They are even smaller when you eliminate murder and go with accidents only, as murders are not safety-related, they are almost uniformly deliberate, as are suicides.

Gun safety is a statistically insignificant issue. It sucks if it’s your loved one who is accidentally shot and perhaps killed, but that has no bearing on statistics.

Yup. Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, to name a few. Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, to name a few more.

I can outline my last buying experience. ~7 weeks ago I drove to the store. In the US it takes absolutely no longer than 10 minutes for BATFE to process a criminal background investigation. This happened in front of me. It took ~1 minute to deal with the credit card processing. Then I drove home.

4 years ago, before I had my permit, the process took nine days start-to-finish. My experience is worth a post. Emily’s undue suffering and hassle is worth a series. Most of the external observers are reading her posts and likely forming misunderstandings about government in the United States, thinking it’s overbearing and ridiculous, without the contextual knowledge of D.C.'s insignificant size. It really sucks.

I appreciate the dynamic you’re setting up, but don’t reckon its validity. She doesn’t have to register a power drill, nor does she have to pay tuition in certified classes to keep an electric sander. A passport is a travel document. Why should she have to go through similar hoops just for a firearm?

Probably still easier then getting an abortion in Kansas.

I would agree…except the “undue suffering and hassle” seemed to peter out pretty quickly after a promising start. It’s gone from a (potentially) Kafka-esque nightmare to “please wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery”.