“It’s easier to purchase a gun than it is to vote.” It is a talking point the Left has regurgitated since Georgia passed a voter integrity law that requires residents to show proof of identification in exchange for a ballot. While the talking point sounds great on paper, it is rooted in ignorance, lies, or a combo of the two.
How to legally purchase a firearm
When purchasing a firearm, the buyer must fill out the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) 4473 form. It asks basic information, like the person’s full name, social security number, driver’s license number, and address. The bottom of the form has a number of questions that are used to determine whether or not a person is prohibited from owning a firearm. Being an illegal alien, dishonorably discharged from the military, or a drug user are all reasons someone would be denied a sale. The answers are generally based on the honor system, unless criminal convictions are flagged during the background check.
Once the 4473 form is filled out, the seller must fork over a credit card and pay a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) – commonly referred to as a “gun dealer” – a fee to complete a background check and, assuming they pass, to transfer the gun. The fee usually costs between $20 and $30 per firearm. Some FFLs will offer a slight discount if multiple firearms are purchased and/or transferred at one time.
The FFL then takes the form that the seller filled out and compares it to the buyer’s photo ID or concealed weapon’s permit (CCW) and inserts the information into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That process can either be done online or by phone. NICS will tell the FFL whether or not to proceed with the sale. If there is something in the buyer’s past that would prohibit them from purchasing the gun, like a criminal conviction, the sale is denied. Some states allow buyers to bypass the background check process if he or she has a CCW.
In some states, the seller can walk out of the store with the firearm the same day. In other states, like California, Washington, and Illinois, the buyer has to wait a number of days (between 1 and 10) before taking the firearm home. The FFL holds the gun in their safe during the “cooling off period,” something gun control advocates believe will prevent mass shootings and fatalities. After the waiting period is over, the buyer is able to pick up their firearm from the FFL. It is now legally theirs.
How to vote
Voting processes vary from state-to-state but most require voters to register two weeks to a month before an election. Nearly half of the states and the District of Columbia allow same day registration, meaning a person can show up to a polling location on Election Day and vote. When registration takes place, either online or in-person, voters are required to provide their full legal name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and social security number.
The biggest difference on the identification front is what takes place at the polling location. In some states, like California, voters do not have to provide a form of identification to prove they are who they say they are. The voter is asked their name and address. If they are registered, they are given a ballot. If they are not registered but want to vote, they can then register on the spot and cast their ballot. In other states with strict voter ID laws, like Michigan and Kansas, a voter must show their ID before they can cast a ballot in-person.
How purchasing a gun and voting differ
While the Left is quick to claim it is easier to buy a firearm than it is to vote, they fail to take into account the background check process. When voting, a person fills out their basic information – full legal name, date of birth, and residence – the very same information that is used on the 4473 form. The biggest difference, however, is the background check. A voter’s personal information is not put into NICS to determine whether or not they have a criminal history. The person does not have to wait to vote, like they have to do in states with a “cooling off period” for firearm purchases.
The right to vote and the right to keep and bear arms are both sacred rights that are protected by our beloved Constitution. The difference, however, is a person’s identity is confirmed when purchasing a gun. The same cannot be said for voting.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
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