The Corner

Law & the Courts

Is It Easier to Buy a Gun Than Vote? Let’s Find Out

Firearms are shown for sale at the AO Sword gun store in El Cajon, Calif., January 5, 2016. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Barack Obama used to claim, absurdly, that it was easier for a kid to buy a “Glock than get his hands on a computer, or even a book.” Contemporary liberals have updated this talking point with more recent legislative obsessions.

“Activists have pointed out that in Georgia, for instance, it’s easier to buy a gun than to register to vote,” one reporter noted, without a hint of journalistic skepticism, yesterday. “This says a lot about where America is headed in 2021.”

“In a majority of states, new voters are able to obtain a rifle quicker than they’re able to cast their first ballot,” argued California’s Senator Padilla. “It seems to me we have our priorities entirely backwards when it comes to this — when we make it easier to buy a gun than we do to cast a ballot.”

These are not only category errors, they are highly misleading. Then again, even if they weren’t, this wouldn’t be as jarring an assertion as many people imagine. First, a citizen’s ability to exercise his Second Amendment rights should require as few impediments as voting — if not fewer. And second, despite the fantastical assertion of many Democrats, voting is already extraordinarily easy — it takes minutes to register and you can do it online — whereas buying a “Glock” in places such as New York, Maryland, California, or Washington D.C., is rendered prohibitively difficult as part of a deliberate effort to dissuade and, indeed, suppress law-abiding Americans from using their rights.

Of course, we would be able to test Padilla’s contention by linking the two issues. Let’s pass an H.R. 1 for guns. If you can receive a ballot in the mail, then FedEx should be able to bring you an AR-15. If you can vote without photo ID, you should be able to buy a handgun without it, too. If we are to institute same-day registration and voting, then Americans should also enjoy same-day background checks and gun purchases. If we implement automatic voter registration for anyone using a government service, we should simultaneously implement automatic background checks that pre-clear them for gun ownership. If we’re going to pre-register 16 year olds as voters, let’s pre-register them for gun ownership, as well.


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