The Conversation

A Modest Proposal

Gun ownership in Illinois is, well, an adventure. 

On my birthday last year I visited the delightfully-named 'Smoke N Gun' in Waukegan and applied for a state FOID (firearm owner identification) card. For those who are unfamiliar, possession of an Illinois FOID card is a prerequisite for purchasing a gun here. I believe we are the only state with such a law; we are also the only state in the union without concealed carry permits (until June anyway, thanks to a recent district court ruling). We're special snowflakes that way. 

After getting the application form from a helpful Smoke N Gun employee, I whipped out my Bic and commenced to form-fillin'.

Date/Place of Birth: ____________________

Are you an American citizen?  Y/N 

Have you ever been convicted of a felony crime? Y/N

Do you have a history of mental illness?  Y/N

Are you under psychiatric care? Y/N

And so on. After sitting down for a Polaroid glossy glamour photo shot (so that my mug could be double checked against drivers license records), the fine folks at the shop sent it off to Springfield for scrutinization by the State Ministry of Guns. A mere 8 weeks later I received my FOID car in the mail, certifying me as having met the minimum residency/sanity/rapsheet hurdles for gun ownership in the Land of Lincoln. A proud moment to be sure. (sniff.) 

This process may come as some shock to residents of, say, Oklahoma; but on reflection, I sorta like the application form. In fact, I think we should also use it as the official state voter registration form - because if you are too unnaturalized, criminal, crazy and/or unphotographed to own a gun, what business do you have in a voting booth? Therefore, resolved:

The eligibility rules for voting should be exactly the same as the eligibility for owning a gun.

While you ponder that, here's a video of a Chicago shop owner enjoying the benefits of the city's strict gun control laws.


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