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Republican “Logic”: Where Votes are More Dangerous Than Guns

boehnermcconnellcantorOften when I debate Republicans, or watch conservative pundits speak on television, I can’t help but feel as if I’ve just walked into some kind of world that defies reality.  I’ll see Republicans use something to support their side of an argument, then completely contradict that point with their very next breath.

A great way to experience this phenomenon is by bringing up the debate on universal background checks for gun purchases, followed immediately by the debate on stricter Voter ID laws.

You see, many of those Republicans who claim universal background checks won’t prevent any gun violence (a crime) are the same Republicans who support the need for stricter laws requiring an ID to vote—to prevent fraudulent voting (also a crime).

In one instance they’ll say criminals don’t obey laws, so stricter laws only punish law-abiding citizens (though if you’re not worried about passing a background check, I don’t quite get where requiring one punishes law-abiding citizens).  Then they’ll follow that with their push to pass stricter laws on voting, claiming that it will reduce fraudulent voting.

So riddle me this: How does it make sense that criminals won’t obey laws, therefore more laws are not needed, while advocating more laws are needed to prevent criminals from committing a different type of crime?

And let me get this out of the way, voter fraud is not an issue—period.  Even the group conservatives charged with the task of finding evidence to support their lie of rampant voter ID fraud, the Republican National Lawyers Association, found no evidence showing that in person voter fraud is even remotely an issue.

I’ll go ahead and debunk a couple of ridiculous talking points right now:

First: “Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the country and the highest rate of gun violence.”  Yes, it is correct, Chicago has strict gun laws and has had a recent uptick in homicides committed by gun.  Just don’t let the fact that Chicago isn’t some distant land isolated from the rest of the country get in the way of your flawed rhetoric.  You should also probably ignore the fact that the areas surrounding Chicago have far more lenient gun laws.  Oh, and while there’s been a recent spike (which just happened to coincide with the 2010 expiration of the 25 year ban on handguns in Chicago), gun homicides within the city have fallen significantly since the mid-90′s.

Second: “Universal background checks are the first step towards a gun registry.”  This is just fear mongering, pure and simple.  Existing laws prevent a gun registry, and the measure that didn’t pass yesterday would have actually made punishments for those who improperly use information obtained through background checks even harsher than they are now.

So let me break this down, according to many Republicans

  1. We don’t need expanded background checks, because it only punishes law-abiding citizens, not criminals
  2. But we do need stricter Voter ID laws, because that won’t punish law-abiding citizens, just criminals
  1. Over 10,000 murders by guns per year has nothing to do with guns
  2. Yet less than 10 credible cases of in person voter fraud in the last decade demands we crack down on fraudulent voting

Now, I’m not saying universal background checks will prevent every crime, nor will they even prevent every criminal from obtaining a gun—but even if it reduced murders where a gun was used by 5% (at a current rate of 10,000 gun homicides every year) over a decade that’s 5,000 people who would still be alive.

And remember, this is just a background check, what would law-abiding citizens have to fear?  Expanding background checks would in no way reduce legal gun ownership among Americans who wish to own guns for self defense or sport.

But then again, Voter ID laws have nothing to do with preventing voter fraud.  These laws are meant to deter specific groups of people who often don’t vote Republican from voting.  But that’s a story for a whole different article.

Either way, to see this contradiction in their thought process (and trust me this is not the only example, it’s just one of many) is laughable.

There’s nothing quite like seeing someone tell you in one breath, “More laws won’t prevent criminals from committing a crime” then following that up with, “We need more laws so we can prevent criminals from committing a crime.”

I just stare at these people sometimes, half listening to what they’re saying–often because I’ve heard it many times before, wondering what life must be like inside of their head.  Wondering how someone can’t see such a blatant contradiction—such glaring hypocrisy.  To stand there, without hesitation or an ounce of shame, claiming more laws won’t prevent crimes or deter criminals for one issue—while supporting laws they claim will prevent crimes and deter criminals for another.

It’s just baffling people can be that dense, that hypocritical—that clueless.

But then again these are the same “fiscally conservative small government” Republicans who run up giant deficits when they’re in the White House, passed the Patriot Act, want government control over a woman’s body and seek a Constitutional Amendment that defines marriage.

So their hypocrisy, and inability to recognize it,  shouldn’t really be all that surprising.

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Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

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  • http://twitter.com/nmykita Nicholas Mykita

    Brilliant article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/max.newton.94 Max Newton

    I guess we won’t see any right-wing blithering idiots try to respond to this article. It’s just too well written. But if any said R-WBIs would like to try, we all wait with gleeful anticipation…

    • jabberwocky

      Well I’m a Dem but do not agree with this article.

    • cowcharge

      Look up, smartass.

  • WTF

    These Republicans remind me of Cartman from the “Fishsticks” episode of South Park. He creates a false reality where he is correct and honestly believes that something that never happened did really happen. It’s time to bring out the smelling salts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.waite2 Jim Waite

    And don’t forget that if you need help to feed your children, you should have to take a drug test, but, if you want a gun you should be able to buy one online or at a gun show with out proving you’re not a violent felon or mentally ill.

    • aa

      Well, correct me if I am wrong, but the Constitution does not guarantee that the government will help everyone feed their children. However, it does guarantee the right to bear arms to individuals. And BTW, you “shouldn’t” have to take a drug test to get food stamps. That is just your government doing what they do best: taxing your welfare check. If people would stop demanding these ridiculous laws, society would be much better off.

  • SgtNorton

    Actually the reason we want you to show ID’s when voting is because it seems some Democrats decided to vote 2 or 3 times for their lord and Savior Obama in the last election. Also the Democrats like to use undocument workers, or what I like to call “illegals” to vote for your party. When districts were reporting 130% turnout for a district, and not one vote for Romney out of 10,000 votes. Something is wrong with that. That is mathematically impossible and that is voter fraud. The reason we don’t want background checks on guns isn’t because we mind you checking our background before we purchase a firearm. What we mind is that is not your liberal agenda with the new gun reform laws. That was just step 1. The ultimate goal of liberals and Obama is the eventually repeal of the 2nd Amendment. What the real reason for the new laws was you guys want to control us. You want to make us subjects. If that new law would have passed, then you would have introduced a second law, and a third, and a fourth, and liberals will never stop until they finally take our guns. It wasn’t about the background checks. It was proving a point that you will not repeal our second amendment without a fight. That was our point in stoppping any new laws. We want you to realize you will never win, and just demoralize you guys so much you will drop the subject. That was our purpose and in all honestly, if your democratically controlled Senate was too afraid to pass that law, then we already won.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daren.bruce Daren Bruce

      1. Way too many districts in several states had more votes than they had registered voters,,,,only one way that can happen….and in every one that I saw they were 100% for Obama. Voter fraud is very obvious.
      2. Showing an ID to prove you are who you say you are is very different from undergoing a background check. The thought process behind this article is….out in left field……

      • jabberwocky

        The progressives adopted an “ends justifies the means” approach several decades ago.

    • http://www.redheadedfemme.com BB-Mystic

      Oh, for God’s sake. That line of reasoning is patently ridiculous. The “black helicopter” crowd strikes again.

      I’m going to ask you the same question I’ve asked several other people: If Justice Anthony Scalia (in Heller vs DC) stated that the Second Amendment is not unlimited, and we already accept limitations on the First and Fourth Amendments (child porn, libel laws, the Patriot Act, et cetera), what makes you think the 2nd should be exempt from reasonable limitations?

      By the way, as long as 30,000+ people a year are killed by guns, the subject will never be “dropped.” Also, a filibuster by a minority is hardly a “democratically controlled Senate.”

      • jabberwocky

        Half of those 30,000 are suicides. People are always going to find a way to do themselves in even if guns are not available.
        I love guns. You should to.

    • jabberwocky

      Even Mexico makes you have a valid voter ID card.

    • http://www.facebook.com/JeckylDraco17 Jeckyl Draco

      You are a fool. Stop watching FOX..

  • BK

    You can’t REASON with the UNREASONABLE.

    • jabberwocky

      Yes you can.

  • SgtNorton

    Check the FBI statistics, 30,000 murders also includes suicides, accidental shootings, and suicide by Police. So the true number murdered was about half that number or less. Otherwise when you really get into the numbers 95% of all murders are drug related or by gangs, or a husband killing a wife’s lover. Basically if you are going to be killed, it is going to be by someone you know. I think last year only about 300 were actually murders by people the victim didn’t know such as a mass shooting. The peak of violent crime was actually in 1992. Since then crime has dropped to the point that you are as safe as you were in the actually 50′s and 60′s. But the liberal media puts such a focus on anytime someone is killed that you actually don’t feel as safe but in all honestly you are. And if you don’t believe go to the FBI website and look at the statistics.

    • jabberwocky

      Bravo.
      The truth finally comes out. Many deaf progressives around here so it may do little good.

  • jabberwocky

    “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as
    a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist
    up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves
    generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the
    majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most
    benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every
    democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is
    always followed by a dictatorship.” ——Alexander Tyler

    • cowcharge

      And we get closer to democracy every time a Dem gets elected.

  • cowcharge

    Wow, what a pantload of blind hatred of Republicans. Talk about “It’s just baffling people can be that dense… that clueless.”

    They’re not the same law Al, and are not applied to the same situation. Therefore, they are not the same. Different things have different effects on different people. You see how that works? Someone needs to watch Sesame St. for a refresher on “Which Of these Things Is Not Like The Other?”.

    Let me try to enlighten you further, Al.

    You say there are less than ten credible cases of in-person voter fraud, meaning, most likely, that ten people got caught. You claim that this alleged statistic somehow informs you of the the extent of the whole issue of voter fraud. Well how do you think you would learn of any examples of successful in-person voter fraud, short of people like Jim Turner who admit it on Facebook? You have, and can have, no idea of the number of people who have voted as someone else, or multiple times. None. Because they weren’t caught. Because there are no ID checks. Duh. Any more than the conviction rate of embezzlers tells you how many there are out there that are getting away with it.

    It’s very similar, interestingly enough, to not being able to identify Obama campaign online contributors, because the donation page credit card ID check was disabled. What do Democrats have against being identified? You say that if a Republican is law-abiding that invasive background checks shouldn’t bother them (the old unconstitutional “if you’ve got nothing to hide, why do you object to being searched?”). But in the next breath you say that merely being identified bothers YOU. So who’s the hypocrite?

    Voter ID laws do nothing more than prevent people who can’t prove who they are from voting. That’s it. If, as you claim, it is only Democrats who can’t/don’t want to prove their identity, what does that say about Democrats, that they are largely incompetent? Largely illegal aliens? How does one political party end up with all the off-the-grid-livers?

    How can anyone who is not someone’s legal ward live in the modern U.S. without an ID? How do they cash their paychecks, pay taxes, get a driver’s license (the renewal of which I have to supply my passport for), or even buy cigarettes and beer? For those few who “legitimately” have no ID because they were born 100 years ago in another country in the middle of a war or whatever, if they didn’t wait until election day, these issues could be cleared up. But for all those who you claim will be disenfranchised by having to prove their identity, if they are so incompetent as to be unable to obtain a $10 ID from the state, well then voting on complex issues is probably beyond them anyway. If they simply don’t want to be identified, well then that is enough for me to disqualify them from voting. Your attitude makes it look like Democrats depend upon the losers in society, and pay them off, to get elected, which of course is a charge that rabid righties have claimed for decades.

    Background checks? How many times does it need to be said that gangs and “regular” criminals, the people who commit the vast majority of gun murders, don’t buy guns at guns shops, so increasing background checks will do nothing to prevent them from getting guns? Background checks cannot stop those who steal guns (from people like the ones who were robbed after that lovely newspaper published their names and addresses as gun owners) or buy them privately. Why can’t that simple fact manage to penetrate the skull of an anti-gun fanatic?

    Background checks cannot stop spur-of-the-moment crimes of passion or accidents.

    Background checks cannot stop lunatics. If access to medical records was included, perhaps they would.

    The government has already stated that they cannot, as it is now, keep up with or be thorough in the background checks they’re given. You want to give them more, so that they become even less thorough and less efficient.

    Chicago. ‘Nuff said about the uselessness, no the direct counterproductivity of, restrictive gun laws. The fact that some towns near Chicago have less strict gun laws is irrelevant, because it’s still illegal to take those weapons bought in Berwin into Chicago. But again, criminals don’t obey laws, and laws don’t stop criminals, they only punish them after the fact.

    The only laws that have been (repeatedly) shown to lower gun violence is concealed-carry laws. So if you want to actually lessen gun violence, if you sincerely want to actually save thousands of those beautiful, innocent children that you made sure to use in your article, then work to train and arm the innocent, not make therm helpless.

    The fact that all the hype is for laws that will do nothing to stop gun violence seems to make it clear that this is just the next chapter in the left’s perpetual campaign to disarm the law-abiding public. What other conclusion can be drawn?

    As for the other source of gun violence, the one that despite it’s statistical insignificance gets all the headlines and handwringing and knee-jerk attempts to legislate… Since mental health does not enter into background checks, the lunatics who commit mass murders will not be stopped by them either. You want to stop them? Lock them up to prevent them hurting anyone before it happens, like we used to.

    Background checks cannot significantly lower gun violence. Therefore, the only ones really inconvenienced by background checks are law-abiding citizens. While the only ones inconvenienced by voter ID laws are criminals and the incompetent. Get it now, Al?

    • cowcharge

      And by the way, votes are, and always have been, far more dangerous than guns.

  • Bill

    Criminal #1: “Let’s kill that guy.”
    Criminal #2: “Yes, let’s do it”
    Criminal #1: “We will have to steal a gun.”
    Criminal #2: “That’s against the law.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cheris-Place/100001700055049 Cheris Place

    We don’t republicans but we do hate hypocrisy. The reason they want voter IDs is because they want to steal the elections they couldn’t buy in November.

    They told you that illegal aliens voted Democrats in instead of admitting they slapped women in the face, spit in the eye of 47% of the country, which included cops, firefighters, teachers, mailmen, all of the working class, elderly people scraping by the social security they paid for-basically anybody who isn’t rich and white, and they people rose up and said NO we don’t want these idiots running the country.

    People saw through their lies and rather than change their platform they’re going to try to steal the next round by keeping Americans from voting.

    I’ll admit I’m not an expert on Mexico’s constitution, if they even have one, but ours guarantees the right to vote and that is the entire basis of our democracy and as such the most important constitutional right we have.

    Even with voter drives we have never been able to get more than 60% of the people to vote which has something to do with why we the people are no longer at the helm. Over-voting has never been the problem.

    As for more people voting in one district than expected could you knock your two brain cells together to get them working and realize that we have become a mobile society because we have to move to follow the work, that we have many college students in this country who would always be voting outside of their registered district, increasing natural disasters that displace people plus two wars that lasted nearly a decade causing soldiers and their families to be moved around and voting in different districts?

    Making it harder to vote won’t fix one thing in this country but it will take away the last remnant of our democracy so we can become the plutocracy they’re turning us into. They have even suggested poor people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Now wouldn’t that be a cozy setup since through ALEC and these sleazy political whores selling out to vulture capitalism they’ve converted 47% of the people into the poor?

    Wake up and smell the coffee burning!

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.schultz.146 Richard Schultz

    How an you put a percentage on voter fraud when you have absolutely no way of tracking it since you do not have to present an ID?

    Your statement that surrounding counties outside of Chicago are far more lenient gun laws is a stupid statement since you still have to have an FOID card to purchase anywhere in the state. Oh wait…. that is only obtainable with a background check!

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Is it REALLY too hard to figure out that alleged voter fraud has been heavily investigated and researched, despite the numerous times that such information comes up?

      Florida recently spent many millions of dollars trying to expose supposed Hispanic voter fraud. Know what they found after looking through over a hundred thousand “suspicious”-seeming voters?

      One Canadian guy.

  • Abe Froman

    Agreed, Chicago gun violence has nothing to do with its gun laws. It’s got everything to do with the fact that Chicago is run by flagrantly corrupt democrats who bankrupted the city.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeckylDraco17 Jeckyl Draco

    Republicans are Idiots. The ones in office anyway. Sorry to all those republicans out there who are being misrepresented. It’s unfortunate but YOU are the only ones who can do something about it.