No, It's Not Easier To Buy A Gun Than Cast A First Ballot

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

When I was in high school, our government teacher had a policy. If you turned 18 and you registered to vote, you got bonus points on your next test. Since she was able to register you to vote, it was an easy couple of points. As a result, most of us did it. We filled out a piece of paper and called it a day.


Those were the days before motor voter laws made it ridiculously easy for people to register. It was also prior to the online registration forms.

These days, registering to vote is ridiculously easy.

Yet some seem to think it’s much easier to purchase a firearm.

Now, Sen. Alex Padilla, a California Democrat, should know better. However, he wasn’t alone in making this comment yesterday, either. Hell, he wasn’t even the first I heard it from. The first was saying the same thing about my home state of Georgia.

Now, again, as someone who has both registered to vote and bought guns in Georgia, I’m going to call BS on this, as I did on Twitter yesterday.

See, registering to vote is simple. You fill out a form and then you wait for a card to tell you when to vote.


Going to buy a gun can be more complicated. First, you have to pick your gun out, of course, but then you have to fill out a form 4473. The questions have been known to trip people up, which I kind of think is by design, so you need to be careful filling it out. Then you stand around and wait for the NICS check to come back. That might take a few days, though, so when you don’t get it back quickly, you have to go home and come back later to pick up the firearm.

It’s kind of a pain, but it’s not the most difficult thing in the world. It’s definitely more complicated than registering to vote, however. I’ve walked into a polling place and voted and been gone in the time it took me to just fill out the paperwork to buy a gun.

“Oh, but you can buy a gun on the same day. You can’t register and vote the same day.”

This is true, and there are reasons for that. For one thing, polling places are temporary locations that lack the infrastructure for any kind of automated verification process. As such, they can’t really register you right then and there with any confidence that you’re both who you say you are and that you live where you say you live. Without that, people could show up at every polling place in town, claim to be someone else, and commit election fraud.

Plus, why would you really need to? Elections don’t exactly sneak up on you. There are known deadlines for registering, so if you miss them, that’s on you. It’s not up to use to bend the entire fabric of reality to accommodate your laziness or your procrastination.


Let’s compare that with buying a gun, though.

See, the process is a bit more complicated in and of itself. Yet there may well be a need to buy a gun that day. Threats present themselves when they do and you don’t really get to schedule a time for them. You don’t always see them coming days or weeks down the road.

So while there are differences in how these rights are treated, there are reasons for those differences. What’s not true, though, is that it’s somehow easier to buy a gun than to vote.


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