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Gun permit sought to fight off pirates

A 30-year-old man who committed a series of burglaries in Whidbey Island years ago is trying to get his right to possess firearms reinstated so that he can fight pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Francis Miller was just 19 years old when he pleaded guilty to burglarizing four homes on North Whidbey. He was sentenced to a year in a boot-camp-style work ethics compound.

Since Miller was convicted of felonies, he lost his right to possess firearms, unless the right is restored by the courts.

After going through the work ethics camp, Miller joined the United States Merchant Marines. He received a degree from the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship and has excelled in his work as a merchant marine, according to documents filed in Island County Superior Court.

Miller is currently serving aboard the USNS Seay, a military vessel positioned in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia. USNS Seay is “a large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ship, responsible for carrying heavy equipment,” according to the Navy’s website.

“Due to these waters being inhabited by pirates the crew is required to be armed if they come under attack,” Miller’s father, Patrick Miller of Oak Harbor, wrote in court documents.

Francis wrote in his declaration that the requirement that the crew be armed is new and is  due to hostility in the pirate-infested waters off Diego Garcia. Since Miller has a felony on his record, he will be fired from his job unless his right to possess firearms is restored.

As a result, Miller’s attorney, Jessie Valentine of Langley, filed a “petition for an order restoring related to possession of firearms” in Island County Superior Court Aug. 11.

“I am a rare success story,” Miller wrote in his petition to the judge. “...I got in trouble with the law when I was younger, over 11 years ago. I paid back my debt to society for this crime. Not only have I not been in any trouble with the law whatsoever since, I have become part of something much bigger than myself. I love serving in the Merchant Marines, protecting our country and having a wonderful career.”

 

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