Friday, December 14, 2012

Regulating Guns Like Cars

I often hear people who support stricter gun control laws say "We need to regulate guns like cars!  It's far too easy for people to buy guns!".  They are often shocked when I agree with their first statement.  I'd support modeling firearm ownership after automobile ownership.

In this country a person with the cash or credit can buy a great many different types of automobiles.  If a 12 year old has a stack of cash, he can buy a car for that stack of cash.  That 12 year old can buy that car without a background check, and he can operate that vehicle at his whim in any manner he chooses on private property.

Wait, what?

People conflate "owning cars" with "meeting the legal requirements to operate motor vehicles on public roads".  I can own a wide variety of vehicles that don't meet the standard for public road use.  I can own and use a nitro-fueled funny car on private property, like a race track.  I can take a clunker that won't pass emissions and use it in the demolition derby.  I can turn my Jeep into a rock-crawling beast and see how far up a mountain I can get.  I can own a four-wheeler or a dirt bike and tear around on tracks or in the woods.  On private property, I can rip out my airbags and ABS.  I'm not required to license a vehicle or keep insurance.  I don't need a drivers license.  That would be thrilling if that standard was applied to guns.  That means I could own any gun I wanted, like machine guns or anti-tank guns, provided I only used them on private property, like gun ranges or my own property.  I'd be quite tickled by that.

I'd gladly trade that for more onerous restrictions when using guns in public.  I don't think passing a test to carry a gun in public is a bad idea.  Having liability insurance is probably a good idea even today, it's why many people carry a blanket policy to cover themselves above and beyond automobile and home insurance.  Having the government set safety standards for pistols that are carried in public seem reasonable- something that passes a drop test perhaps.  Maybe even stipulating ammo used offers limited penetration, that seems like a good idea.  Requiring mufflers like on cars would be awesome, the process to purchase a product to make your gun quieter today is expensive and very involved.  I'd happily trade those things for more freedom on private property by adopting a policy where guns are regulated more like cars.

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