Four months of jumping through regulatory hoops and $435 in fees later, Washington Times columnist Emily Miller finally got the gun she wanted. It's a Sig Sauer P229, a basic black pistol.
One problem: It made her dad, a gun-carrier himself, uneasy.
We'll get to that later.
Miller, a 40-something who gained national attention for her "Emily Gets Her Gun" series in the Times, has a book out chronicling the hassle she went through as a Washington, D.C., resident to purchase a gun. Much of it reflects her gun newspaper series but the book is also Miller's attempt to dispel myths about guns and crime statistics and expose what she sees as political plots to make guns less available to law-abiding citizens.
The book, Emily Gets Her Gun: ...But Obama Wants to Take Yours, comes as the nation's focus has been reluctantly turned to gun control time and time again in the last year and a half.
But none of the tragedies involving guns in that time are what moved Miller to get a gun and write about the process. She started it nearly a year before the Newtown Elementary School shooting. It was actually a personal experience that made her do it.
Miller's credit cards and cash were stolen while she was house-sitting back in early 2010 for a friend in a seemingly safe D.C. neighborhood. She wasn't physically mugged or harmed, but had anything like that taken place, she was armed with nothing but her BlackBerry. The idea left Miller shaken. She felt that she needed protection.
Thus began the "Emily Gets Her Gun" series, the title inspired by the broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun." She started writing columns on the subject when she started at the Washington Times in 2011. She had previously worked at the conservative weekly Human Events.
The book itself landed her an appearance on CNN to go head-to-head with outspoken pro-gun regulations critic Piers Morgan. It spurred this exchange between the two:
MILLER: There has never been proven -- whether it's the government Center for Disease Control study, Harvard study -- that all these gun control laws that I hear you advocate all the time -- they don't prevent violence. And that's what we all want to do is decrease violence, make our children safe or make ourselves safe, or make our cities safer.
MORGAN: But what they do do is they dramatically reduce gun crime.
MILLER: No, they do not.
MORGAN: Yes, they do.
MILLER: Gun crime has gone down 40 percent in the past 20 years while gone ownership had skyrocketed. There's over 300 million guns. As gun ownership is going like this, gun crime has gone down ... There is no parallel during gun ownership and gun crime.
"The liberal media and anti-gun politicians have been effective in misleading the public," Miller told TheBlaze in an interview.
But what about some regulations for guns? Free speech, as granted in the First Amendment, isn't absolute. The oft-cited example is that you can't shout "fire" in a crowded theater. Surely guns require some restrictions, right?
Miller, an avid viewer of ABC's romance reality show "The Bachelor" as well as one of the nation's most well-known gun enthusiasts, agrees.
"Since the 1960s, we have prohibited certain groups of people from owning guns—including felons, the mentally ill, drug addicts, domestic abusers and illegal aliens," she said. "We also require that every licensed gun dealer do an FBI background check before selling a firearm. These laws are all reasonable ways to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals."
Miller said "the problem" with gun violence is that prosecutions for illegal guns are down 10 percent since 2008. It's one of countless gun and crime statistics sprinkled throughout Miller's book.
So, she's got her gun and she's happy. But her dad isn't.
As recounted in her book, Miller's dad, Harmon, kept a revolver underneath the driver's seat in his car. When she was a little girl, Miller saw it but didn't let Harmon know she did.
Fast forward to 2011. Miller told Harmon she wanted a gun and would be writing about the process.
"Why don't you get it and then give it back," he said to her. "Can't you just write the story and then give the gun back?"
Miller told him that would defeat the purpose of getting the gun in the first place, which was for self-defense. She told him she knew he was a gun carrier. Still, he was uncomfortable.
"I think Dad's position comes more from the old-fashioned perception that guns are for men, not girls, than out of any hostility to firearms," Miller wrote in her book. "I have repeatedly told him that I train regularly and am very responsible with my firearm."
And what about the time her things were stolen? If Miller had been armed then, what would the turnout have been?
"I don't think the initial situation would have been any different because the thug didn't threaten me with a weapon," Miller told TheBlaze. "However, I would have been able to sleep better that night if I had a gun by the bed and wasn't as terrified that the gang would come back and try to rape or murder me while I was defenseless."