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WALSH: No, It Isn’t Easier To Buy A Gun Than Vote. But It Should Be.

 One of the favorite strategies of the gun grabber is to compare the alleged ease of purchasing a firearm to the alleged difficulty of performing some random other task. Often you’ll hear it formulated this way: “In America, it’s easier to do X than it is to vote! We really have our priorities screwed up!”

President Obama was famously fond of this mad lib. On more than one occasion, he filled in the blank with “book,” claiming that it is harder, somehow, to obtain a book than to obtain a firearm. This may be true if the book you are trying to obtain is one that the Left has already banned or burned. But as long as you are not trying to buy some forbidden text like Dr. Seuss’s “McElligot’s Pool,” it is quite easy to buy books. You can even get them for free at the library. Kids as young as 6 can obtain a library card and check out all the books they want, no questions asked. There are many versions of this “buying a gun is easier than such and such” formulation. Yesterday, Senator Alex Padilla of California was one of several Democrats to put a familiar spin on the old yarn. Echoing a Washington Post editorial published a few days ago, he claimed that buying a gun is easier than voting. We should note that Politifact has previously fact-checked this claim and determined that it is true. But if you are not convinced of the truth of a claim simply because a website with “fact” in its name says it’s true, it may be necessary to take a closer look. You do not need to look very long or hard to discover that what we are dealing with here is anything but a fact. It is, rather, a gross and absurd fabrication, and one that quickly evaporates on closer inspection. 

First, let’s consider the process of voting. If you want to vote, and you are a legal adult, the only thing standing between you and the ballot box is the requirement that you register ahead of time, which you can even do on the same day that you cast a ballot in many states. You can also accomplish this task online. It requires no money. No additional hoops must be jumped through or obstacles navigated. You must only provide proof that you are a resident of the state in which you will be voting, and that will be the end of it.

As for voting itself, you can do it through the mail from the comfort of your own home. You can do it early or do it on Election Day. There is nothing difficult or confusing about voting. Any legal adult — provided they are not convicted felons, though even that is not will not permanently rule you out in most states — can vote. There is quite literally nothing standing in your way when you want to vote. It is free. It is easy. Voting is so easy that 155 million people successfully completed the task in 2020. It could be said without exaggeration that literally every single person who really wanted to do it, and was eligible to do it, did it. How can a thing be any easier than that? What about purchasing a firearm? Well, the first thing that purchasing a firearm requires is money. That alone makes it more difficult than voting. One is a free activity that any legal adult can engage in, the other is an activity that requires money. We could end our comparison right there, but the differences extend far beyond that. There are a great many laws governing who can buy a firearm, what kind of firearm they can buy, where they can buy it, where they can carry it, what they can do with it, when and where they can do those things, etc.

It is generally easier to purchase some guns than others — a shotgun as compared to a handgun, for example — but the perspective gun owner must first navigate the red tape and research the laws to figure out which gun he can buy and how he may buy it. No such process is necessary for voting. Many states require waiting periods before buying a gun, some states require waiting periods for all guns. You can buy some guns online, but the gun has to be shipped to a licensed dealer. No sort of equivalent red tape exists for voting online.

Again, there really is no red tape at all for voting, except the most basic and easily navigated requirements. This is not the case for buying a gun. You can also lose your right to a gun much easier than you can lose your right to vote. Federal law prohibits felons and those dishonorably discharged from the military from obtaining firearms. No such federal law exists for voting rights. There is no comparison here. Voting is simple, free, and easy. Buying a gun is expensive and complicated, and may even be impossible depending on who you are and what gun you wish to buy. Voting is much easier than buying a gun. But it shouldn’t be.

Indeed, I wish the Democratic fable was true. I wish the situation was reversed. Gun ownership is, after all, a more important and more essential right than voting. Voting is not really a human right at all, but a privilege that ought to be reserved for those who are the most qualified to do it. The ability to defend yourself and your family is fundamental. We all have the God-given right to ensure our own safety and that of our loved ones. But determining the political course of the nation is something different. It is not fundamental and should not be opened up to any warm bodied (or even cold bodied, in some cases) person. In an ideal scenario, there would be tests and requirements for voting which rule out the voters who are not equipped to take part in the process and have no business involving themselves in it. That’s the way it should be. That’s not the way it is. Here is one case where I would prefer if the leftist fantasyland version of reality was true. But it isn’t. Not even close.  

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