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Bullets or ballots?


Given a choice between gun control and ballot control, Arkansas legislators would rather keep people from voting than shooting. Already a bill has been filed by a Republican legislator, for the legislative session beginning next month, that would make it more difficult for certain people to vote, people who are, uncoincidentally, apt to vote Democratic — minorities, the poor, the elderly. The bill would require a type of photo identification that many of these people don't have and would find difficult to obtain. Ostensibly, the bill is meant to prevent voter impersonation, but this is nonexistent already. Even the sponsor of the bill can't cite a single case. Nonetheless, a photo ID bill was approved by the House of Representatives last year but died in the Senate. With Republicans controlling both houses in the 2013 session, photo ID is almost certain to become law.

But we'll go out on a limb and predict that no bill will be introduced in the Arkansas legislature to make it more difficult for people to obtain firearms, despite the schoolhouse massacre in Connecticut last week, the latest in a series of mass shootings that cry out for the government to protect its citizens. If some foolhardy freshman tries, he'll be shouted down. No matter which party has a majority, the NRA runs the Arkansas legislature. The legislature's response to multiple murders has always been to try to put more guns in the hands of more people, not reduce the number. Don't be surprised if a lawmaker introduces a bill requiring that schoolchildren be armed. One has already promised a bill to have college professors packing.

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