In Florida, It's Easier to Buy a Gun than to Vote
February 20, 2018
Ruth Milka / NationofChange & Heather Dockray and Andrea Romano / Mashable.com
The United States, which has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, makes it surprisingly easy to buy an assault weapon. In Florida, it's harder to get birth control and purchase over the counter medications, such as Sudafed, than it is to buy a gun.
In Florida It Is Easier To Buy a Gun Than to Vote
Ruth Milka / NationofChange
(February 19, 2018) -- Last Wednesday a 19-year old man entered into Parkland, Florida high school, shooting and killing 17 people and wounding many others. This event has once again sparked a national debate about how easy it is to buy guns in the United States.
The United States, which has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, makes it surprisingly easy to buy an assault weapon. The state of Florida is an excellent example of how buying a gun is much easier than doing some other key things that American citizens should have an easier time doing, namely: voting.
Florida requires you to have proof of ID to register to vote, however, they do not require firearm dealers to obtain a state license nor do they license firearm owners, require the registration of firearms, regulate assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines, or limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time. You also do not need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun.
Yet Florida continues to make it more difficult for people to vote. Florida is one of the few states that permanently bars felons from voting and continues to implement things like reduced early voting hours and voting purges to further restrict voter registration and turnout.
Florida is not the only state for this to be the case. As of 2013 there were 39 states that required you to have proof of ID to vote, but allow you to buy an assault rifle at a gun show or online without proof of ID -- or a background check. Nearly 40 percent of gun purchases in the United States happen through this one loophole.
Further, private sellers of firearms are not required to complete a background check before selling a gun, both in Florida and nationally.
Currently it is easier to purchase an assault weapon than it is to get birth control, and purchase some over the counter medications, such as Sudafed. Head over to Mashable to see 100 total things that are harder to do than buy a gun in America. [See story below -- EAW.]
It's Easier to Buy a Gun in the US Than to Do These 100 Other Things
Heather Dockray and Andrea Romano / Mashable.com
(JUNE 18, 2016) -- Earlier this week, a reporter from The Star walked into a gun store and purchased an AR-15 -- similar to the Sig Sauer MCX used in the Orlando massacre -- in seven minutes flat.
Her experiment has been substantiated by others in the field. In fact, some guns, including pistols, have proven harder to get even though they're slower to recharge (and hypothetically less deadly). Despite the fact that Omar Mateen was on the FBI's terrorist watch list, he was able to legally purchase the deadly weapon.
That's why we've composed a list of 100 things that are harder to get than an AR-15. Americans love to queue even more than their British brethren -- except, it seems, when it comes to guns.
1. Get birth control
In order to get birth control (pills, IUD, arm implant, etc.) you're required to find a reputable gynecologist, make an appointment (sometimes weeks in advance), pay your co-pay, fill out paperwork, explain WHY you need it, obtain a prescription or schedule another appointment for insertion. Luckily, birth control has been free in the US since 2012. Guns? A little bit longer than that.
2. Win 'Hamilton' tickets
Forget that buying a ticket is now upwards of $849. To win the Hamilton digital lottery, the odds are anywhere between 476 and 909 to one.
3. Pay off your student loans
The average bachelor's degree holder takes 21 years to take off their loans, assuming they pay their monthly minimum.
4. Buy a fancy donut
It took our Mashable reporter 2 hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds to buy New York's most overrated donut, the cronut.
5. Purchase a Kylie Lip Kit
Kylie Jenner's coveted lip shades sell out in minutes. In America, there are closer to 15,000 gun stores.
6. Score Beyonce concert tickets
Lightning fast bots and a slow Ticketmaster website made it nearly impossible for many fans. The tickets for Beyoncé's Formation tour sold out in mere moments.
7. Pick up your driver's license at the DMV
It takes 34 minutes on average to get your drivers license at the DMV -- assuming you've passed your exam, completed your probation period and brought in the approximately 12.7 million pieces of documentation required.
8. Acquire food stamps
The average American waits approximately three weeks to get the food stamps needed to feed themselves or the family. While amounts vary, the average client is offered $1.41 per meal.
9. Qualify for child care
If you want free/affordable child-care for your child, the government can sometimes help -- provided you don't mind waiting 30 days or more.
10. Receive affordable health care
It's become progressively easier to get insurance in America -- but it still takes an average 45 days to get approved for Medicaid.
11. Own this ridiculous thing
Want a shelter dog? It could take anywhere from two days to three weeks to legally adopt a pet, depending on the owner/shelter's regulations.
12. Get your tax return
TurboTax predicts it'll take anywhere from 21 days to six-eight weeks to get your tax return in the mail.
13. Find a cure for the common cold
Dayquil does. Not. work.
14. Purchase Sudafed
Despite these medications being over-the-counter, you need to ask your pharmacist for a box and provide your photo I.D. and contact information when you buy. There is also a limit to how much you can buy per month, depend on your state and personal history.
15. Buy a new iPhone
Some consumers waited for days in line at their local Apple store when the iPhone 6 was launched, for reasons we don't totally understand.
16. Purchase anything at Trader Joe's after 6 p.m. in New York.
Good luck getting home in time for dinner.
17. Get through security at airports
Beyond showing your I.D. and boarding pass, some airports also require you to take out any liquids and your laptop, and walk through a full body X-ray (or a pat-down) for TSA screening. Plus, no one is asking gun owners to take off their shoes in public.
18. See your doctor
Even if you have great insurance, you may still need to wait weeks for an appointment and explain why you need treatment. The average wait time at a doctor's office is 19 minutes, 16 seconds. After dozens of tests and insurance approvals, you might get what you need. Maybe.
19. Become a citizen
Becoming a citizen can take six months to a year -- but for thousands of Americans, it can take many more years (just don't ask Donald Trump).
20. Talk to tech support
Yes, in the three hours I waited to talk to you, I DID unplug my printer and plug it back in again.
21. Getting unemployment
Not only is the paperwork ridiculous for trying to prove you meet your state's criteria (which varies from state-to-state), you may find yourself on the phone for hours if you ever need to dispute something (and you will). New Yorkers wait an average of three to four weeks to get their first payment.
22. Get in vitro fertilization
Getting IVF can take anywhere from four to six weeks and over $12,000 of fun, fun fun.
23. Adopt a child
Are you a caring adult who want to bring a beautiful child into your home and give him or her a family? Sounds great! Please hold for the next two to seven years.
24. Earn teacher certification
Every state is different when it comes to teacher requirements, but generally, new teachers much submit paperwork, identification, a background check, fingerprints and log months' worth of hours to get certified for the most thankless job in the country.
25. Roast a turkey
It takes 10-15 minutes per pound to fully cook a turkey in the oven. Add that up against your 20 lb. bird and you have dinner on the table in five hours -- which is plenty of time to drive to a local gun shop and back with a new firearm.
26. Graduate from high school
It takes four years to get all your required credits. Enjoy your summer vacation.
27. Get solar panels
You want to save the planet, and that's a beautiful thing. Be prepared to wait anywhere from five weeks to six months as the Earth slowly turns to fire.
28. Buy a handgun instead of an AR-15
In Florida (and in many other states), you need to wait three days to buy a 9mm handgun. There is no waiting period for an assault rifle.
29. Cross Manhattan from east to west on foot
Manhattan is two miles across. While some could make the journey in 30 minutes, other pedestrians (particularly tourists who don't know where they're going), might need an hour.
30. Find a seat on the L train after 6 p.m.
There is no hope.
31. Get published (by a legitimate publishing company)
Odds of writing a New York Times best seller are 220 to 1. Successfully buying a gun? Much more likely.
32. Find love on Tinder
33. Hang up on your mom
But wait, she wants to tell you this hilarious story about the new curtains in the living room!
34. Get a job
If you're lucky, you'll only have to wait 43 days to get a job -- unless you're one of the thousands of America's long-term unemployed.
35. Find joy
The longer this list gets, the less happy we all feel.
36. Get some peace and quiet
What time do these kids go to bed anyways?
37. Raise a house plant that doesn't die
Nothing we do is ever enough.
38. Serve in the military
The United States military rejects 80% of new recruit applications.
39. Take classes at a public college
In states like California, over 400,000 students were waiting at one point to get into community college classes. "We demand 'Intro to Film Studies,' and we demand it now!"
40. Get accepted to Harvard
Ninety-four percent of Harvard's 35,000 applicants for the Class of 2017 were rejected.
41. Earn a promotion or raise
Over the past forty years, worker pay has risen 9% while productivity has risen 74%. So remember: there is no reason to work hard, ever.
42. Get paroled in Texas
This may come as no surprise, but the state of Texas denied parole to 63% of its eligible inmates in 2012.
43. Get an abortion
There is no waiting period to get some types of gun in Florida. However, in order to get an abortion, a woman has to get an ultrasound, receive counseling and then wait 24 hours until she can get the procedure (though the measure has been temporarily halted).
44. Sell lemonade
In Iowa, you need a business permit and food license to sell something as simple as lemonade, even if you're just an 8-year-old trying to buy an Xbox. You do not need a license to sell guns online.
45. Get closure
You've returned all their stuff, said all your goodbyes, but your heart will hold onto that pain -- forever.
46. Get a vital organ
If you need a kidney transplant, you might be on the waiting list for 5 years or more if you don't have a relative that's a good match.
47. Get a shot in flu season
While vaccination rates vary worldwide, people all across the United States have waited as long as two months so they don't projectile vomit on their boss.
48. Register to vote
It can take five to seven weeks to take part in the most important part of our democracy, and some states are trying to make it harder.
49. Kill ants in your own home
Ants destroying your cabinets, eating your food and climbing into your mouth? You'll have to wait 24-48 hours until they maybe disappear, then reappear again.
Though regulations vary by state, 14 states have a one to five day waiting period, allowing happy couples to back out in style.
51. Expunge your criminal record
One of five Americans has a criminal record in the United States. Sixty percent of employers said they would "probably not" hire someone with a criminal record. Even those who don't face charges can find themselves with a lingering arrest record, making it harder to access housing and find employment.
52. Cut someone's hair
If you want to become a paid professional barber, that's great! In Texas, be prepared to sit through of 1,500 hours of training/labor you will never be compensated for. You also need a permit.
53. Take a day off of work
Have a cold? We're super sorry, but there's actually no federal requirementsfor paid sick leave. Be prepared to quietly sniffle for the rest of your days.
54. Get into rehab
Heroin overdoses have tripled in the past fifteen years, but some insurance plans simply refuse to pay for rehab.
55. Find quality mental health treatment
About 43 million people are living in the US with a diagnosable mental health disorder, and many are eligible for treatment under the Affordable Care Act. However, the US is facing a shortage of certified psychiatrists and psychotherapists. If you are lucky enough to get coverage, finding a doctor that fits your personality and budget can be near impossible.
56. Get justice for survivors of sexual assault
46% of all instances of rape are actually reported. Out of those, 97% of the offenders are not convicted.
57. Drink booze
You need to be 21 to get a nice glass of rosé, but 18 to buy an assault rifle in Florida.
58. Rent an apartment in New York
Be sure to have your upwards of $1,000 deposit, 15% broker's fee, photo I.D., Social Security number, application, application fee, and summaries of all your bank accounts. And, sometimes, a guarantor application with all of the above for that person. The lesson: just don't try.
59. Bring a dog into a restaurant
Many states allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons into a restaurant -- and some even support open carry. So sure, bring your gun into that restaurant -- but don't even think about your dog.
60. Break your cell phone contract
Verizon will forever be in your life.
61. Pay down credit card debt
Most people only pay the minimum when it comes to their credit card bill. If you have credit card debt at approximately $15,000 at a rate of 17% interest, it will take you a little over 11 years.
62. Hunt and fish
You need your Social Security Number to get a hunting or fishing license. Do you need one to buy a gun? You guessed it. Nope.
63. Find a spot in nursery school in New York City
Have fun beating out little Becky's mom for that spot. Her cookies are amazing.
64. Go open water scuba diving
In Colorado, you need to take at least a three-day certification course that includes swimming lessons, pool diving and open water practice dives. In some states, you only need to take a quick online course to be considered educated enough for a gun permit.
65. Collect Social Security
You must be at least 62 years old to receive benefits and apply no more than four months before you retire. Oh, and if you're under 44, get ready to work until you die because Social Security is projected to run out by 2034.
66. Collect SSDI
If you are disabled to the point you cannot work, you can apply for Social Security Disability payment. To do that you have to:
2. Prove you're disabled "enough" (which is harder than you think)
3. Prove you don't have enough income. You can't make more than $1,130 per month. So, you can't make more than about $12 an hour on a 20 hours-per-week job.
You can be denied if you:
1. You "refuse to cooperate" or take the prescribed treatment the Social Security office gives you.
2. If you're an addict or committed a crime.
3. You move while receiving benefits and the office "can't find you."
67. Get payments and services from the VA
Even though veterans are America's "most precious resource," veterans in the US can wait as long for 3-6 months for specialized care.
68. Listen to your roommate complain about their day at work
How "crazy" is everyone at work? Oh, they'll tell you. And tell you. And tell you.
69. Donate blood
Although France and other countries now allow gay men to donate blood, America's Food and Drug Administration has refused to relax restrictions.
70. Quit your job
Remember your two weeks notice before you're free.
71. Wait for a new 'Game of Thrones' episode
Besides spoilers, a whole seven days just to see if Ramsey Bolton is dead yet. A person could buy at least two handguns in that amount of time with a three-day waiting period for each.
72. Binge watch 'House of Cards'
Season 3 was excruciating. There, we said it.
73. See a new 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
We waited five years before a new episode aired. We were forced to watch The Big Bang Theory.
74. Drive across the smallest state in the Union
It takes approximately one hour to drive from one end of Rhode Island to another -- and that's if you're driving as fast as you legally can, and don't even stop at McDonald's.
75. Lose 5 pounds
Depending on your BMI, the CDC doesn't recommend losing more than 1 to 2 lbs. per week. Unless Oreo sundaes are in the room, in which case the pounds are totally worth it.
76. Take a shower
The average shower takes approximately eight minutes. But why wash off disease when you can get an assault rifle in six minutes or less?
77. Mail a package to the post office
Have you ever tried to mail a package in New York? If you haven't, don't. Don't even try to buy a stamp. It's not worth it.
78. Have pizza delivered
Domino's promises that they can get a pizza delivered to your door in "30 minutes or less." Still, that's more time than it takes to get an AR-15 in your hands. Cheesy goodness, why do you tease us so?
79. Find a bra that fits
No matter what the people at Victoria's Secret say, they're wrong.
You've got to show up to their boring birthday parties and hear about their terrible dates and honestly -- is the friendship worth it?
81. Master any skill
Author Malcolm Gladwell assesses that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. Imagine if every gun owner needed to put in this amount of time to learn gun safety.
82. Get sworn in as president
The odds of becoming president of the United States are 1 in 10,000,000. That is, if you survive the vetting, campaign ads, raise enough money and already have an established career.
83. Get an apology from Donald Trump
You'll be waiting a long time for that.
84. Change your name on Facebook
If you go by a different name than what's on your official I.D., Facebook will not allow it.
85. Officially change your name IRL
It's a nightmare if you're transgender, just got married or have any other reason to change your name. Depending on your state, you'll often need your birth certificate, a petition for a name change and you need to attend a hearing in front of a judge.
86. Get a passport
If you want a US Passport, you'll need an I.D., your application, passport photos which you have to take at whatever photo developing business you're close to and a $110 fee. You also have to mail it in using the regular mail. It can take weeks or months to get it back.
87. Buy a car
Assuming everything is in order, it can take you as little as two hours to get a car. That's still more time than it takes to get an assault rifle.
88. Ask your friends to pay you back on Venmo
"I'll pay you on Venmo" -- person who will never pay you on Venmo.
89. Find toilet paper in a public bathroom
An unknown none of Americans sit in their drip all day.
90. Finish this post
We will die finishing this.
The average American retires at 75 years old, then dies three years later.
92. Close your bank account
It can take weeks before a bank account allows you to pull out all your money, and give it to another crappy bank.
93. Figure out how Snapchat works
Like . . . what is it even for?
94. Parents to finish their voicemail or type an email
You have more than two fingers, Mom!
95. Take out the recycling
Most of us would rather just sit in a pile of hot festering garbage than be forced to go outside.
96. Finish 'Beowoulf'
Sure it's "just a poem" but dear god who wants to read it.
97. Kill your yeast infection
Diflucan doesn't work? Some women live with yeast infections for weeks or months or years.
98. Digest a McDonald's hamburger
The amount of grease and trans fat in a McDonald's hamburger means that it sits in your stomach juices for over three days before being fully digested.
99. Commute to work
The average American commute is 25.4 minutes. To get an assault rifle, it can be as little as seven minutes.
100. Get a driver's license
To carry an AR-15 in some states, you do not actually need to have a gun ownership license or a permit. However, if you plan on driving a car, you need to have a learner's permit for 6 months, take (and pass) a driver's test, and bring your birth certificate, Social Security card and two proofs of address.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.