Philip Bump had an article in the Washington Post attacking Dr. John Lott’s testimony before the president’s Election Integrity Commission. The Post did not publish Lott’s letter, but this is what was sent in:
Dear Letters Editor:
Philip Bump doesn’t understand how the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) works and he clearly never listened to my testimony to the Election Integrity Commission (“Let’s see what happens if we take the unserious background-checks-for-voters idea seriously,” 9/12).
Bump worries that background checks will “slow the process of registering to vote,” by requiring voters to fill out the same “complex” form that is needed to buy a gun. But many of the questions for buying a gun aren’t relevant to voting. For example, mental health and drug addictions don’t affect one’s ability to vote. Background checks can be done with voter providing the same information that they currently do, possibly only adding their social security number.
Bump claims background checks will be very costly for voters, running around $2.55 per check. But the main cost of running the system comes from putting criminal and citizenship information into the database. That information is already being collected on all Americans on the chance that they might decide today to go and buy a gun.
John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
Crime Prevention Research Center