Thomas Massie: If Voter ID Is a Tax on Voting Rights, Firearm Licensing Is a Tax on 2A Rights

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, speaks to supporters gathered at The Champions of Liberty Rally in Hebron, Ky., Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.
Bryan Woolston/AP Photo

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) used a Wednesday hearing to suggest that if Voter ID is a tax on voting rights, then firearm licensing is a tax on Second Amendment rights.

Massie made this point while cross-examining Voter ID opponents, contending that their arguments break down if they oppose issuance of ID’s for one constitutional right but look the other way when ID’s are required for the exercise of a a different right.

Fox News reported Timothy Jenkins, a witness in the hearing and board member of Teaching for Change, criticized Massie for bringing up licensing for gun rights during a discussion about licensing for voting rights.

Jenkins said:

Let me tell you this: that the whole business of being able to vote is not intermeshed with the business of bearing arms. You are taking the time that we’re trying to deal with a constitutional right to be a citizen and turning it into something else. Use another forum! We don’t have many opportunities to get a right to vote. We don’t have an opportunity to talk about the whole business of the way in which the Constitution has been distorted. And don’t take us off on some rabbit trail to talk about arms.

Jenkins also said, “Let the record show, that nobody has died because of their being deprived of bearing guns.”

Massie interjected:

What you’re saying, Mr. Jenkins, is absolutely incorrect. I had a staffer … who worked for me. She watched her husband be gunned down in front of her in a gun-free zone, because her firearm — she followed the law and left her firearm in the vehicle. So do not tell me, and do not tell her that nobody has ever died because they were deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.

In a separate but pertinent example, Breitbart News reported Carol Bowne applied for a license to possess a gun for self-defense in April 2015 and was stabbed to death on June 3, 2015, while waiting for the state of New Jersey to issue the license.

The Courier-Post reported Bowne sought state’s permission to have a gun so she could protect herself from a former boyfriend. It was he who was charged with stabbing Bowne to death as she waited for the state to grant her a license for gun ownership.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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