In their never-ending campaign to rid America of gun violence by blaming it on people who want to control guns, the NRA has unleashed its latest weapon in the form of Emily Miller, previously a staffer with Tom DeLay and Rick Lazio, and now a writer for the Washington Times. Miller has just published a book detailing the extraordinary difficulties she encountered in trying to get a license to purchase a gun in Washington, D.C., a decision she claims to have made after being the victim of a home invasion.
According to an interview in Politico, it took poor Emily four months and 17 "steps" to get her license, a process which not only made her the latest self-appointed expert on gun violence, but convinced her that gun control does nothing to reduce crime. In fact, Emily told Politico, gun ownership is at its highest level ever, yet crime has been going down "every year" since 1991. She made the same point in her recent Washington Times column in which she noted that the gun homicide rate has dropped from 6.62 in 1993 to 3.27 in 2012.
Furthermore, according to Miller, it's the president who's really to blame for gun violence because he "selectively" talks about mass shootings but never draws attention to the daily killings in his own home town: "Why do you never hear him talk about the children who are killed on the streets of Chicago?" she asked during her Politico interview.
I'll give the NRA credit for foisting Miller's nonsense on the American public; this time they're not even waiting for a debate to break out in Congress before beginning their barrage of untruths and half-truths designed to stifle any meaningful public debate. And I guarantee you going forward that the sui generis script being used this week by Emily Miller will find its way into every public comment made by anyone else who enlists to do battle on behalf of the NRA.
The only problem is that Miller's script simply isn't true. And what is so disheartening about her false claims is that nobody -- Politico, Anderson Cooper, anyone else -- even takes the trouble to check her blatantly false recitation of the "facts."
The truth is that the entire decline in gun homicide rates that began in 1993 ended in 1999. According to the Department of Justice, 18,253 people were killed by guns in 1993, falling to 10,828 in 1999, and rising back to 11,101 in 2011. The unprecedented increase in gun sales and concealed-carry licensing has occurred since Obama's first election in 2008. There has been no diminution in gun violence since that date.
As for the president's alleged failure to mention gun violence in Chicago, the truth is he explicitly referred to the shootings in his home town not once but twice in the last week alone. First he mentioned it in the memorial service at the Marine barracks ("And these mass shootings occur against a backdrop of daily tragedies, as an epidemic of gun violence tears apart communities across America -- from the streets of Chicago to neighborhoods not far from here") and then again at a speech Wednesday night before the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation ("Just two days ago, in my hometown of Chicago, 13 people were shot during a pickup basketball game, including a 3-year-old girl.")
Miller's an experienced journalist based in Washington, D.C. She had to know that Obama made these statements and she had to have looked at the DOJ data before she made her comments about crime rates and guns. The reason she and other members of the NRA noise machine get away with such egregious lying is because nobody's bothering to respond from the other side. The pro-gun folks are waging a continuous and effective campaign; the gun control folks are busy talking to themselves.