No, It’s Not Easier To Get a Rifle Than Vote
Sen. Alex Padilla (D–Calif.) recently claimed that it is easier in some states to acquire a rifle than it is to cast a ballot. This false claim ignores the reality of gun control in America. Despite widespread misconceptions held by gun control advocates, guns are the most heavily regulated consumer good in the country. Millions of Americans are federally prohibited from not only possessing a gun for even a fleeting moment, but also from possessing even a single bullet.
Everyone who purchases a gun from a gun dealer must undergo a background check. The background check system is fairly robust (even though false positives can be a problem), and it screens for a variety of conditions and offenses that would disqualify someone from legally possessing a gun. Ineligible individuals include, among others, felons, those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military, anyone who has been involuntarily committed or adjudicated as a “mental defective,” undocumented immigrants, and anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. If a prohibited person acquires a gun through a private sale without a background check, he is committing a felony. If the seller knew or had “reasonable cause” to know that the recipient was a prohibited buyer, then he is committing a felony too. Violators can serve up to 10 years in prison.
While prohibiting some people from possessing a gun might make sense, millions more Americans are stripped of their Second Amendment rights if they are “unlawful users” of or addicted to any controlled substance. It’s no defense if you live in a state where marijuana has been legalized. And if you lie on the form and say you don’t use illicit drugs, that’s a five-year felony.
This is not all just theoretical, as Ethan Kollie found out. Kollie helped the 2019 Dayton nightclub shooter build his gun (but not to commit the shooting, of which Kollie had no inkling). When the feds came to Kollie, he admitted to using marijuana and to lying on the background check form. He will serve 32 months for lying on the form and being illegally in possession of firearms.
In general, however, you need not worry if you use marijuana and own guns—if you’re white and live in an affluent neighborhood, that is. Those charged with prohibite
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