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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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In Living Commentary

While the right to vote is littered throughout the Constitution, the right to bear arms is expressly defined in the Second Amendment. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

The voter ID law and gun control hypocrisy


One of the more common objections to Voter ID laws is that the legislation forces people to incur costs obtaining proper identification. The theory is that requiring citizens to spend money to exercise their right to vote is, in essence, a poll tax. In fact, the 24th Amendment abolished the use of the poll tax. No citizen shall be denied the right to vote "by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

I agree that citizens shouldn't have to pay money to the government in order to exercise their rights.

That being said, I support any voter ID legislation that doesn't require citizens to pay for their own state issued IDs. I think one easy solution is to give free IDs to anyone who can't afford them. A good compromise would be for conservatives to support funding some sort of a ride share program that gets people to the DMVs, to get these required IDs. Assuring that each citizen gets only one vote is critical to democracy. For the first time in my life, I have serious reservations about the sanctity of the system.

The assertion that there are citizens out there without any form of ID is dubious, at best. Here is a list of some of the things you can't do without an ID:

Vote in union elections, board an airplane, own or rent a home, use a checking account, hold a job, drive a car, legally hunt or fish, buy alcohol or tobacco and use prescription medicines. Do you know anyone that doesn't do any of these things? Of course not, because they don't exist.

If this mythical recluse is so removed from society that they don't participate in even the most basic and minimal functions, does it make sense that they dutifully exercise their right to vote in each election cycle? That's extremely unlikely. Take away the financial objections of Voter ID and all that is left is a straw man argument that can easily be defeated.

While the right to vote is littered throughout the Constitution, the right to bear arms is expressly defined in the Second Amendment. It's my assertion that if you oppose voter ID laws due to financial concerns, then you must also oppose federal registration and regulation in the gun industry.

Increased regulation and registration on a federal level would mean creating a vast bureaucracy to track and verify firearms. This registration is a cost that would be funded by gun owners. In essence, citizens would be charged by the government for exercising their expressed and guaranteed Constitutional rights. This is a poll tax for the Second Amendment!

Disqualifying someone from exercising their right to bear arms "by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax" is wrong.

You'll often hear people say that vehicles are registered and a license is required for use of those deadly weapons. This argument isn't applicable here because they've yet to identify which amendment guarantees the right to own a vehicle. Obtaining a license to drive a vehicle is a privilege, not a right expressly granted by the Constitution.

This document has worked for over two centuries because it doesn't play personal politics with the issues. It doesn't let emotions override consistency and it doesn't imply which rights are more important.

A person's hypocrisy will clearly show on the comparison of these two issues. Liberals will tell you they oppose making people pay for the right to vote, then tell you with a straight face that they support making people pay to exercise their right to bear arms. When you strip away the emotion and the conjecture, it's easy to see that these issues boil down to the same key thing: paying the government to exercise rights.

If you have a different stance on these two issues, then you are allowing your personal politics to override your principles. This is the key mistake many people make. When you follow what the Constitution says, and not what you want it to mean, you'll find that these issues often have a simple solution.

Sadly, personal politics combined with a lack of understanding of the Constitution have served to undermine the rights we are all afforded. This is obvious when looking at the hypocrisy many people exhibit while sharing their stance on paying the government to exercise guaranteed rights.
Has this country become so corrupt by special interest groups praying on personal politics that people no longer understand what their principles truly are?

I think I know the answer to that question.


Talkbacks

Frostyguy | May 10, 2013 at 8:12 p.m. (report)

Recently, the federal government also made it so that you can only get your social security "check" via electronic deposit in an approved bank account. Guess what else you can't do without a proper ID. The whole argument that the feds have been using about maybe hindering grandma's ability to vote is totally wrong. The only people that will be deterred are the illegal immigrants that are afraid of being deported (AS THEY SHOULD BE AFRAID!!!). This argument is so freaking stale it is silly! WHY can't we just have honest elections and settle this? The only reason that is obvious is that the liberals know they have not been being honest. They figure the ends justify the means, however, that time is now over!

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AndrewJ | May 10, 2013 at 3:41 p.m. (report)

Saying that needing an ID to vote disenfranchises people of lesser means is the most ridiculous argument against the legislation. Guess what you need to register for Government assistance? An ID. Case closed.

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