Dear Editor,

It is easier to purchase a gun in Indiana than it is to vote.

In order to vote one must 1) be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Indiana, 2) be at least 18 years old, 3) not currently be in prison after being convicted of a crime and 4) be registered to vote. In order to register to vote one must have either A) a valid Indiana driver's license or B) an Indiana state-issued identification card.

In order to purchase a gun in Indiana the only requirement is that you be at least 18 years old and state that you are not mentally incompetent or a drug or alcohol abuser (no proof of either is required). Handgun licenses require a bit more proof in that they require one to undergo a check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System maintained by the FBI to insure that convicted felons cannot get a handgun permit. However, gun sales at gun shows and between private individuals are not regulated in Indiana.

Indiana has more than 1.4 million residents possessing a handgun license with the number increasing by 0.5 million per quarter for the past two quarters. A far greater number of individuals possess a firearm of some type that is unregistered and virtually untraceable. Indiana currently has 4.5 million registered voters out of a total population of 6.5 million.

The unrestricted access to firearms in a community with stringent access to voting rights demonstrates an inappropriate prioritization of essential liberties. The constitution speaks to only one prohibition of the denial of rights regarding firearms, the 2nd, which is specifically moderated by the inclusion of the rights being necessary for those of a well regulated militia.

A total of four amendments to the Constitution are designed to prohibit the denial of voting rights; the 15th prohibits denial of voting rights based on race, color or having been a slave, the 19 prohibits denial to vote based on sex, the 24th for non-payment of poll taxes and the 26th prohibits denial of voting to those over 18. None of these prohibitions of the denial of rights to vote are moderated to the extent of the 2nd amendment regarding militias or similar groups.

At present the restriction of voting rights seems inappropriate and irrational. The unrestricted access to firearms seems to be reckless and can be linked to the increasing gun violence seen in Indianapolis and our neighbors in Chicago. The right to vote should be as accessible to individuals as the right to own a firearm. Indiana should either loosen the restrictions on voting or enhance the restrictions on the purchases of firearms to reach some sort of parity.


Michael P. Fons