Voting Should Work Exactly Like Buying A Gun

Imagine:

You can only buy a gun using forms that are only written in English.  Spanish and other languages are not available on the forms you are required to fill out when purchasing a firearm.   You are required to fill out ATF Form 4473 and a Pennsylvania version of the same form every time you purchase*.

Note: The ATF has a Spanish version of Form 4473 out for public comment.  It is still not available to most gun dealers, provided you happen to be in an area where your gun  store clerks actually speak Spanish, since they have to be able to communicate with you entirely in Spanish if they’re to give you the form; they are required to witness your responses, which means they have to understand the form and your written responses if you write anything in Spanish on it.   This may work for a few gun dealers in the American Southwest where Spanish is a primary language for large populations.   Pennsylvania has no present intention to release their application forms in Spanish.

You are required to answer details about your life and conviction history each time when purchasing a gun.   When you vote in Pennsylvania, you just state your name.  If you’ve voted before at that polling location, you don’t need to show ID.   Each time you buy a gun, you must prove you exist and reveal personal life details over and over.

If you “stretch the truth” on gun forms, you have committed a felony.   If caught, you will be prosecuted under laws that carry stiff penalties and your legal right to obtain a firearm will be gone forever unless you prevail in court.   This can include using nicknames or reversing the ordering of your name on an ATF 4473 rather than stating your name as printed on your Social Security card, listing a bad address, and even listing a bad telephone contact number.    Yeah, there’s also perjury penalties for filling out voter registration forms, but hardly anyone gets prosecuted for not being 100% correct filling out every field or answering every question truthfully or honestly.    It’s not the same with guns.  At all.   Imagine if you made a mistake on a voting registration form and you lost the right to vote.  Forever.   This is something gun owners face with their ability to purchase firearms every time the ATF and state forms are presented to them.

You must not have ever committed a felony in your entire lifetime, or be currently charged with any crime still under adjudication, or have committed a misdeameanor that carries the possibility of a 1 year or longer prison sentence (in most cases).    This rule would exclude a large segment of Philadelphia’s population.   Returning citizens cannot vote with this type of rule.   Do you have a simple assault from a bar fight eons ago?   No voting for you.   Simple assault carries the possibility of a 1 year or longer jail term in Pennsylvania.

The word “possibility” is important here.   Did the judge not sentence you to any time and you just got a fine?  Too bad.  If there was a possibility of 1 year in jail, then you are excluded forever from purchasing–even touching–firearms.   Imagine if access to voting carried this same restriction.

Do you or did you beat your wife?  You must surrender all weapons if you get a Protection From Abuse order filed against you in a Pennsylvania state court.  They are eligible to be returned to you if the PFA is rescinded–but you must actually get an attorney and pursue that revocation yourself so long as the PFA stands.   This would impact a very large proportion of the voting population.  Temporary and permanent PFA requests are filed all the time that the courts have filing facilities available off-hours for this service.    I can think of a number of politicians who would not be able to vote just on this restriction alone.    Remember Tariq El-Shebazz who ran for DA?  He got a PFA filed against him in Montgomery County (he showed up in court to have it rescinded).

You cannot be a “habitual drunkard“.   Repeat DUI offenses can cause state police to reject your request to purchase a firearm and the Pennsylvania PICS background check to go negative.   Should drunks be voting?   Methinks perhaps not.

You cannot be a foreigner.   This goes without saying.   Anyone who is not a citizen of the United States of America should not be going anywhere near a polling machine.  But a few do.  Every year.  In Philly.

If you just got your citizenship, you might not be able to vote just yet.   Foreigners who recently obtain citizenship often get their gun purchase background checks put on hold or flatly denied.   Partly this is because citizenship status takes a while for state government to ascertain if they noticed you were not a citizen when you got a PA driver’s license, and the other part has to do with profiling immigrants.   Yes, if you’re an immigrant you get profiled by Pennsylvania State Police.  I have fellow gun-owning friends who have gotten citizenship recently.  The first gun purchase was a little rough getting approved, but after that–subsequent purchases went through.  If you’re a natural-born citizen with a very foreign-sounding name, don’t worry, you won’t be profiled.   The state employees are reacting to your citizenship status changing.

You need to wait until state officials verify your authenticity, over a land-line telephone call, before you’re allowed to enter a voting booth.    If you buy a gun in PA, at some point the dealer is going to pick up a telephone and call Harrisburg to talk to a service center with the Pennsylvania State Police.  The operator at the other end taps data into the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PICS.   The result can be “approved”, “hold”, or “disqualified”.   If you get a result other than “approved”, no gun purchase for you today, bro.   A PICS check can take between 5 minutes to 1 hour, depending on call volume.   If every Pennsylvanian had to wait for someone at a state authority central office to validate you really have a right to vote (every time), this of course would be a logistical nightmare, but that’s what it takes.   So it should be with figuring out whether you are a Russian plant looking to cast votes to Donald Trump in 2020.

You need references from at least two other people in order to vote.   This was actually a made-up regulation that was pushed by the Philadelphia Police Department with a special form they required for obtaining a state gun permit.  The requirement has since been done-away with as state law has no such requirement for the LTCF license, and the Philadelphia Police were sued and agreed to get rid of it as part of a court agreement.   But imagine:  what if you had to get two other peers who have the ability to vote to vouch for you in order to get the franchise?

 

If voting worked like gun purchasing, only the most law-abiding among us would be getting the voting franchise, with the clean background checks, who haven’t (yet) picked up a blemish or gotten involved in domestic dysfunction. If you think buying a legal firearm is as easy as voting then there would be many people who support Voter ID laws actually supporting you and standing with you.

So let’s dispense with your full ‘o crap “if only if the ease of voting were like the ease of buying a gun” business.