The Conversation

A Modest Proposal

Last year I visited a gun shop in Waukegan and applied for an Illinois state firearm owner identification (or, as it's known around these parts, a FOID card). Not that I'm planning a duck hunt or school massacre; I don't even own a firearm. I find they clash with my wardrobe. I was just exercising a right, and curious about what was involved in doing so.

After wading through a battery of question about my citizenship, date/place of birth, felony convictions, and history of mental illness, I sat down for a glamour Polaroid shot, and the nice folks at the gun shop mailed the application on my behalf to Springfield for the mandatory background check. A scant 8 weeks later, I was delighted to receive a laminated card from the state of Illinois certifying that I am sufficiently naturalized, conviction-free, sane, and photogenic to own/purchase a gun in the state*.

Not only did this experience give me a second form of photo ID, it gave me an epiphany: that application form for owning a gun could double as a dandy Illinois voter registration form. After all, if you are too unnaturalized, young, criminal, nuts and/or camera shy to own a gun, what business do you have in a voting booth? Therefore: 

Resolved: the eligibility criteria for voting should be exactly the same as the eligibility criteria for owning a gun.

Feel free to explain why not.

*offer void in city of Chicago


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